Saturday, March 3, 2012

Move over Chicken Noodle Soup.

Chicken Noodle soup is the classic comfort soup and cure all for anything that ails you from the common cold to depression. Not sanctioned by the American Medical Association, but what do they really know about home remedies anyway? While a huge believer in the powers of herbal and homemade remedies, this post is more about soup.

This week alone I was emailed three advertisements, from three foodie sites, and they all featured "Chicken Tortilla Soup" as the soup of the week. Surprisingly, I have not ever eaten nor made this soup before, so looked at the recipes and they were basically almost all the same ingredients and directions. Strange I thought. So I started to surf the web and look up more of this type of recipe and guess what? Either almost everyone invented this soup first, or almost everyone is copying a basic recipe and claiming it as their own. There were a few other versions here and there, but when I read the word "tortilla" in a recipe name, I expect Southwestern/Mexican flavors and ingredients. Items like carrots, brussel sprouts and edamame, or making a classic chicken noodle soup and putting slices of avocado on top, just don't do it for me,

I had already figured out my own variation on Taco Soup, and that is what I was going to base this new soup on; consider it copying myself. Going to my well stocked pantry, the soup process began and the results were quite, quite pleasing. The soup was colorful with ingredients, flavorful from the seasonings and a mild warming sensation from the chilies exemplified the essence of comfort.

The tortilla chips? I wondered about them myself, basically why put something crunchy in a soup, just so it can get soggy?  I was surprised though, the softened tortilla chips gave the illusion of noodles or dumplings enhancing the feeling of comfort overall. Oh, while I do list some possible garnishes at the end of the recipe, you'll find you don't really need them. The soup is delicious as is and a garnish would just be nothing more than a decoration.

Chicken Tortilla Soup


6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 (15 oz) can black beans, do not drain liquid
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, do not drain liquid
2 (11 oz) cans Mexican corn, do not drain liquid
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 Tbsp dried cilantro
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth
Tortilla chips


Set a 6 quart crock pot on low; place inside the ingredients in order of listing. Cook for 6 hours; remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to crock pot and mix thoroughly. Line bottom of soup bowl with tortilla chips; ladle soup over chips.

Makes 10 servings.

Garnishes: sour cream, shredded cheese, avocado, chopped fresh cilantro

Mary Cokenour