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Take a deep breath in. Smell that? Yep, it’s finally fall, and that means apples, pretty leaves, football, and most importantly, soup! Spoiler alert: I absolutely love making my own soups.

“Chicken Tortilla is honestly one of the easiest soups you’ll ever make, because it’s basically created by dumping a bunch of ingredients into a pot and stirring. But it’s as delicious as it is easy.”

There’s something so fun and delicious about incorporating an entire meal into one bowl that warms you from the insides and brightens up even the gloomiest of cold days.

My roommate and I have a deal in our house: I cook, she bakes, and we both win. So in exchange for the chocolate cake that I asked for—which was waiting patiently on the kitchen counter when I came home from work—I made her favorite soup, chicken tortilla.

I started this recipe last fall and have given it a few tries over the last year, but I have to say, it’s finally perfect. Not to mention fairly healthy and definitely filling. The best part of this recipe is all of the add-ins and delicious ingredients that you can choose from to really round out your soup.

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I started this recipe last fall and have given it a few tries over the last year, but I have to say, it’s finally perfect. Not to mention fairly healthy and definitely filling. The best part of this recipe is all of the add-ins and delicious ingredients that you can choose from to really round out your soup.

It’s important when you’re cooking to be clean and prepared, which is why I like to get my spice mixtures ready ahead of time. With spicy ingredients, you should start with less and add more so it’s not overwhelming. Unfortunately, that’s something I’ve learned from experience. So I began with ½ a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and chili pepper and added more as I went.

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Now, let’s cook that chicken. I’ve found that poaching is the most effective technique for keeping the chicken juicy and flavorful. You’ll want a good liquid to poach in (that’s not water), like a chicken or vegetable stock, or if you’re as lucky as me, corn broth! Basically the idea is you’re keeping all the moisture in and adding flavor at the same time.

“Top with tortilla chips, or cheese, or even avocado if you’re feeling fancy. This super-yummy, belly-filling meal sure to please everyone who eats it.”

Season your chicken with a little salt and pepper and let it sit for a few minutes so the seasonings get good and stuck. In a large (4-5 quart) pot, bring your chosen liquid up to almost a full boil and submerge the chicken. There might be a little bit of the chicken breast uncovered by the liquid, but that’s okay. Keeping it at medium heat, let the chicken sit for about 10-12 minutes, and then flip over so each side gets evenly cooked. Make sure you check the temperature of the inside of the chicken by cutting into it, and only remove when it’s cooked almost fully through. You don’t want it to be 100% cooked as it will finish in the soup itself.

While the chicken is cooking, get working on those veggies. I like to saute some onions, garlic and bell peppers for some of that Mexican flavor in the soup. Give the onions and peppers a rough chop or medium dice, and toss them in a pan with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Sweat them out, or cook until translucent, and then add a finely minced clove or two of garlic and your can of black beans. The point of doing these things together is to combine all those yummy flavors for a consistent blend that will bring the whole thing together.

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This is honestly one of the easiest soups you’ll ever make, because it’s basically created by dumping a bunch of ingredients into a pot and stirring. Side note: I picked whole tomatoes for my second can of tomatoes because I really just enjoy squishing them myself. Plus, it’s a nice variety of texture.

You can use pre-crushed tomatoes if you don’t enjoy the mess.

Pour your tomatoes, tomato paste, green chilies (if they’re separate from your tomatoes), and your sauteed veggie mixture into the pot of broth and turn to a medium-low heat. Add in your spice mixture and let this simmer with a lid for a few minutes, making sure to stir occasionally. You may have to stir a little vigorously to fully dissolve the tomato paste but you’ll notice a consistency change once it’s fully incorporated.

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This is a great time to pick your chicken. Yeah, that’s a weird sentence but it just means shredding your chicken with two forks, or your hands if you’re an animal (#noshame.) You’ll want the pieces to be relatively small so you’re not getting enormous chicken chunks and no soup on your spoon.

Once the liquid and vegetable mixture is the right level of spicy and flavorful and the veggies have mixed in nicely, toss in the shredded chicken, give it a stir, and voila! You have a super-yummy, belly-filling meal sure to please everyone who eats it. Top with tortilla chips, or cheese, or even avocado if you’re feeling fancy. This soup can continue to cook or you can serve immediately, and it also freezes really well, so no pressure.

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INGREDIENTS

Soup

  • Two boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 28 oz. can whole or crushed tomatoes
  • 8 oz. cans of tomato paste (2)
  • 2 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 4 oz. can diced green chilis (optional)
  • 12 oz. can black beans
  • ½ diced yellow onion
  • ½ diced bell pepper (color of your choice)
  • Clove of garlic
  • Quart of stock- chicken, veggie, corn

Spice Mixture

  • Cayenne pepper
  • Paprika
  • Chili Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper

RECIPE| Feeds 4-6

  • Season thawed, room temperature chicken with salt and pepper. In a large pot, bring cooking liquid to a low boil.
  • Place chicken in the pot, almost completely submerging in the liquid, and turn down to medium heat.
  • Dice onion and pepper. Mince garlic. Saute onions and peppers in olive oil until translucent and add garlic and black beans.
  • Once chicken is 90% cooked, remove and let stand.
  • Combine all spices in a small bowl, starting with 1/2 tsp each and adding to taste.
  • In the pot of broth, add in tomatoes, tomato paste, veggies and spice mixture. Let simmer covered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Shred your chicken with two forks until deconstructed into small string-like pieces.
  • Add into soup for 2 minutes and stir.
  • Serve with tortilla chips, cheese or avocado.
Taryn Lachter
About the Author

I grew up in the food industry, and food is my first love. I’m obsessed with all things that taste good, especially cheese, and the fastest way to win my heart is through my stomach. You can find usually find me rooting around in my kitchen, or enjoying something new on the scene in New York City.

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