Despite my love for summer produce, the allure of a warm, hearty bowl of soup on a cold night is truly unbeatable. Especially if enjoyed under a cozy blanket on the couch (anyone else a couch dinner aficionado?).
Crafting a pot of soup on a leisurely Sunday afternoon has become a cherished fall/winter routine. The rapid assembly of soups and their ability to simmer away on the stovetop or in my slow cooker (or my latest obsession, the InstantPot!) while I multitask around the house, watch football, or indulge in a Netflix binge, is a real win.
This Chicken Tortilla Soup is an epitome of a complete meal in a bowl. A fusion of authentic spices like chili powder, cumin, paprika, and optional cayenne (for those spice lovers) create a deeply satisfying taste. Loaded with protein from chicken breasts and black beans, this soup boasts both flavor and health benefits. Plus, it’s the ideal canvas for a myriad of toppings.
Producing around 10 cups, it’s perfect for weekly meal preps, hosting dinner parties, or serving your family. Tom and I enjoyed this soup all week, and we even found ourselves vying for the last bowl. Trust me, this recipe deserves an urgent spot on your menu!
The beauty of this recipe lies in its use of pantry staples, ensuring a protein and veggie-packed delight. Key components include:
- Chicken: Opt for boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, based on preference.
- Black Beans: Amps up the protein content while providing a hearty dose of fiber.
- Corn: The natural sweetness of corn complements the spices brilliantly. Fresh, frozen, or canned corn all work.
- Fire Roasted Tomatoes: Elevates the broth’s flavor profile. Use diced tomatoes from two 14.5oz cans.
- Chicken Broth: Creates the base of the broth. Swap for vegetable broth if needed.
- Chopped Green Chilies: Found in small cans, these bring a zing of flavor. Mild or spicy, your choice!
- Cilantro: A fragrant addition to the broth. Feel free to skip if cilantro isn’t your thing.
- Spices: This soup boasts a delightful Mexican-inspired spice blend of cumin, paprika, chili powder, and optional cayenne.
Now, let’s talk toppings—my personal obsession with this soup. Much like chili, the magic lies in the array of toppings that bring it to life. Customization is the name of the game, especially if serving a group. Set up a toppings station, akin to a taco bar!
I’m head over heels for homemade tortilla strips—a breeze to make. Slice corn tortillas into slender strips, toss in a dash of olive oil, and bake for around 10 minutes.
Aside from these strips, some favorite toppings include:
- Plain Greek Yogurt (a sour cream substitute)
- Additional Cilantro
- Chopped Red or Green Onion
- Hot Sauce
In moments of extreme hunger, I’ve even stirred in leftover quinoa or brown rice. What other toppings do you all enjoy?
Wondering about freezing? Absolutely! This soup remains good in the fridge for 4-5 days. For longer storage, freezing is a viable option. Portion the soup into freezer-safe containers or bags. It should stay fresh in the freezer for up to three months.
If this recipe strikes a chord, here are a few more you’ll love:
- Dairy-Free Butternut Squash Soup
- Easy Pumpkin Chili
- Three Bean Turkey Chili
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Yields: 8-10 servings
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 large chicken breasts (approximately 1-1.5 lbs)
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cans (14.5 oz each) diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can corn
- 1 can green chilies (optional, or substitute with diced jalapeno)
- Juice of 1 small lime
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 3 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional, for added heat)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- Garnishes: Avocado, Greek yogurt, cheese, hot sauce, cilantro
- Homemade Tortilla Chips:
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add onions, garlic, and cilantro, sauté until aromatic.
- Pour in chicken broth, diced tomatoes, black beans, corn, chilies, and lime juice. Stir well.
- Introduce the spices and then place the chicken breasts into the pot.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove chicken breasts and allow them to rest for 10 minutes. Shred using a fork.
- Reintroduce the shredded chicken into the soup and let it simmer for another 10 minutes.
- For the tortilla chips: Slice corn tortillas into thin strips, coat them with olive oil and salt, then bake at 400°F for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
- For the crockpot: Combine all ingredients in the crockpot, cooking on low for 5-6 hours. Shred chicken and return it to the crockpot before serving.
Category: Gluten-Free, Dinner, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free
- Q: Can I use bone-in chicken pieces for this soup?
A: While boneless chicken is recommended for easy shredding, bone-in pieces could work if you’re willing to remove the bones before shredding.
- Q: Can I make this soup vegetarian?
A: Absolutely! Swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth and omit the chicken. You can add extra beans or tofu for protein.
- Q: What’s the purpose of using fire-roasted tomatoes?
A: Fire-roasted tomatoes add a smoky flavor and depth to the soup’s base, enhancing its overall taste.
- Q: How spicy is this soup with the optional cayenne and green chilies?
A: The level of spiciness can be adjusted by using less cayenne or opting for mild green chilies. It’s all about personal preference.
- Q: Can I replace the canned corn with fresh corn?
A: Absolutely, fresh corn would be a delicious addition. Just be sure to cook it a bit longer to ensure it’s tender.
- Q: What’s the benefit of using smoked paprika in the soup?
A: Smoked paprika adds a smoky, earthy flavor to the soup. It’s optional but can enhance the overall taste profile.
- Q: Is there a dairy-free alternative to cheese for topping?
A: Yes, you can use dairy-free cheese or simply omit it. The soup is flavorful on its own with various toppings.
- Q: Can I use leftover rotisserie chicken in this recipe?
A: Definitely! Leftover rotisserie chicken can be a convenient and flavorful substitute for cooking chicken from scratch.
- Q: How would you recommend reheating the frozen soup?
A: Thaw the frozen soup in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat it on the stovetop over medium heat until warmed through.
- Q:Can I make the tortilla strips ahead of time?
A:Absolutely, you can make the tortilla strips in advance and store them in an airtight container until you’re ready to use them.