If there was ever a “soup for the soul,” this Chicken Tortilla Soup would be it. Loaded with depth of flavors, textures & a bit of spiciness to warm you up on a chilly evening.
Prep Time:25 minutes
Cook Time:30 minutes
Total Time:55 minutes
Method:Stovetop + Baking
Homemade Spice Recipe for Chicken and Tortilla Strips
2 tablespoon Chili Powder
4 tablespoon Smoked Paprika
1–2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
2 teaspoon Onion Powder
2 teaspoon Dried Thyme
2 teaspoon Dried Oregano
2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Baked Spice Rubbed Chicken
1/2 of the (above) Homemade Spice Recipe
3 large Chicken Breast, boneless and skinless
Homemade Spicy Baked Tortilla Strips
8–10 Small Corn Tortillas
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
4 tablespoons (above) Homemade Spice Recipe
Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 large Sweet Onion (coarsely chopped)
1 large Poblano Pepper (seeded and coarsely chopped)
2 large Jalapeño Peppers (seeded and coarsely chopped)
6 large Garlic Cloves (chopped)
2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
2 teaspoons Ground Coriander
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
4 cups Chicken Stock
2 – 28-ounce cans Petite Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes (I prefer Glen Muir)
1 can Rotel Tomatoes with Cilantro and Lime Juice
1 can Black Beans (drained and rinsed)
1 – 14 ounce package of Frozen Corn
Spicy Shredded Chicken (above)
Kosher Salt, to taste
1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro (chopped)
1/2 large lime (freshly squeezed)
Homemade Spicy Tortilla Strips (above)
Sour Cream, Shredded Cheese, Diced Avocado – optional but recommended
For the Baked Spice Rubbed Chicken
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Combine the following ingredients: 2 tablespoons chili powder, 4 tablespoons smoked paprika, 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons each garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme and dried oregano, 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper.
Pour half the above spice mixture (about 5-6 tablespoons) into a large shallow bowl and coat 3 large chicken breasts with the spices.
Brush a large baking dish with olive oil and place the chicken breasts in the dish.
Bake for about 25-35 minutes (depending on the size of the breasts). Using an instant-read digital thermometer, cook the chicken until the internal temperature reach 155°F-160°F. Remove from the oven and tent with foil. The chicken will continue to cook to a 165°F temperature.
Using two forks, shred the chicken into small pieces. Set aside.
For the Chicken Tortilla Soup
In a Dutch Oven (or another large heavy bottom pan), sauté for 5-6 minutes or until slightly tender 1 large sweet onion, 1 large poblano pepper and 2 large jalapeño pepper, all coarsely chopped.
Add 6 cloves of garlic (chopped) and cook for 1 minute.
Add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
Add 4 cups of chicken stock, 2 – 28 ounce cans of petite diced fire roasted tomatoes, and 1 can rotel tomatoes with cilantro and lime juice.
Simmer for 20 minutes.
Add 1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed), 1 – 14 ounce package of frozen corn, and the shredded chicken. Stir until all is combined.
At this point you may want to add extra kosher salt along with a tablespoon or two of leftover spice mixture, according to your taste preference.
Remove the Dutch Oven from the stove and add 1/2 cup of chopped fresh cilantro and juice from 1/2 large lime.
When ready to serve, laddle the soup out in a bowl, add a handful of homemade spicy tortilla strips, a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheese and sliced avocados.
If you prefer it “spicy,” add extra cayenne pepper to the spice mix.
Since the chicken continues to cook after you remove it from the oven, it’s important to take it out just prior to an internal temperature of 165°F. The chicken will become dry and tough if cooked too long.
Cooking times vary in so many ways that you should not just go by time in the oven. Using an instant-read thermometer is the best practice for checking if the chicken is done.
The best way to shred the chicken breasts is by using two forks. Hold one fork in each hand and with one hold the cooked chicken in place while using the other one to scrape and tear the meat into small shredded pieces.
Depending on your preference for how much heat you want, you can either add an extra jalapeño pepper or take one away. Extra heat comes from the ribs and the seeds on the inside the pepper.
If you have some, be sure and use gloves when chopping the jalapeños, if not, wash your hands immediately after chopping the peppers and whatever you do don’t touch your face or eyes after the fact.
Cook the onions, peppers, salt, cumin and coriander for 5-6 minutes, until they are slightly tender., they will continue to cook while the soup simmers.
Don’t overcook garlic, otherwise it becomes bitter. It only takes about one minute of sautéeing after the onions are done to be complete.
Add both cilantro and lime juice once you remove the pan from the stove. This will preserve the cilantro color, flavor and texture and it won’t allow the lime juice to become bitter while cooking.
You could easily half the recipe if you don’t want to make that much.
This soup freezes extremely well. If you choose to store some in your freezer, hold off on the cilantro and lime juice until you thaw it, heat it up and serve it.
The tortilla strips always go in after you ladle the soup into bowls so they are nice and crispy when eaten.