tortilla soup

Sometimes blogging about food means subjecting yourself and those you love to just plain ridiculousness and tom foolery. For instance, if I am planning on making something fancy and French for the blog, I’ll go shopping on Thursday or Friday so that on Saturday morning, I can have my mise en place ready to go by noon… usually for a recipe I’m going to be eating for dinner. Yes, I am a masochist and like cooking things that take me literally ALL DAY. My reason is the lighting in my apartment. It’s not ideal and I am a firm believer in natural lighting over artificial lighting when it comes to food. It just makes everything seem warm and sunny and of course makes the food overall more appealing.  My job makes it impossible to take pictures of anything in daylight during the week, so again, my Saturday is my day in the sun… literally.

Blogging about food also means having to struggle through the neverending battle of the bulge. Fortunately, my boyfriend has equipped me with p90x videos. I’m whipping up buttercream one minute and then doing plyometrics 15 minutes later.  Crazy, but I am doing p90x afterall.  That must mean I’m EXTREME!  I was talking with a fellow blogger, Winston from The Gluttonous JD, who shares my fear of fatness.  Winston mentioned something about a diet, at which point I stopped paying attention.  I don’t diet.  I may indulge in smaller portions, but I do not and will not ever go cold turkey on certain food items.  He caught my attention again when he mentioned Rick Bayless and soup that was “healthy”.  In my mind, Rick Bayless + Soup + Easy Dinner = Tortilla Soup!  I’m not sure how healthy this is, but I can guarantee it’s better than eating a cupcake or two.


  • 4 skinless bone in chicken thighs
  • 1 can of reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 jalepeno pepper, diced
  • salt to taste

The Fixings!

  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 4 scallions
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro leaves
  • Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • Canola oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  This will be for your homemade tortilla strips.

While the oven is preheating, add the chicken thighs, jalepeno (add the seeds if you want it extra spicy), broth and chicken stock to a large pot.  Turn the heat to medium-high and wait for the pot to come to a boil.  Once it reaches its boiling point, redice the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

At this point, remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.  You want it cool enough to handle when you go to shred it.  In the meantime, add salt to the cooking liquid.  Depending on your brand and how “low sodium” it really is, you will need to adjust the amount of salt you add.  Slowly build up the amount of salt you add to the pot.  Cliche, but it’s a good tip — you can always add but you can’t take it back.  Keep tasting until the salt level is right for you.

To make the tortilla strips, brush the tortillas with the canola oil on both sides.  Stack the tortillas and cut the rounds right down the middle.  Stack the semi-circles and cut into strips about 1/2 inch wide.  Spread the strips on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.  Bake for 10 minutes, then stir the strips around to make sure everyone is started to get a nice tan.  Periodically check your strips for golden brown perfection.  For me, it took another 7 minutes.  Really watch these though.  I went 3 minutes too long on my first batch and they very quickly went from golden brown to dark tropical tan.  Yuck.

Your chicken should be cool and ready for shredding.  If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, take the thighs and start shredding with your fingers.  Throw the chicken into the pot and let it come back up in temperature.

To serve, you can be like me and dirty every single small bowl in your kitchen and fill them with the fun verdant toppings.  Let your guests add what they’d like and enjoy!

Overall, I really didn’t think I would like this soup.  In the pot, it was bland and “chickeny”.  Chicken isn’t a bad flavor, it was just a little one note and not the complex broth flavor I was looking for.  HOWEVER, once I added all of the garnishes and a squeeze of lime, I was immediately transported to flavor town.  This was refreshing and light.  I would even be so bold to say it may have been healthy!  Shocking, I know!!!!  If you have the ingredients, I’d say give this soup a chance.

One response to “tortilla soup

  1. Aly April 8, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    love love love rick bayless! + the soup sounds yummy!

    also, what do you think of those videos?

    miss you, see you SO soon!

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