Several years back, one of my girlfriends gave me a great recipe for chicken tortilla soup that she got from a really nice fireman. I love that recipe, but it involves roasting several different types of peppers and tomatoes and putting them in the blender with various fresh herbs. While I love cooking with all of those fun, yummy ingredients, I don’t usually have the time to do all of that during the week with the kids’ homework and activities, plus the ingredients can be hard to hunt down and can get rather pricey.
A year or so ago, I found this recipe for easy chicken tortilla soup and I have made my own adjustments and have added my own touches to it over time. It is very cost-effective and I usually have the ingredients to make this soup right in my pantry and fridge. This soup has become a staple in my house and I can prepare it in about 20 minutes and then it needs 20-30 minutes to simmer after that. Since it involves chips and cheese, my kids are happy to eat it! I also love that it’s a one-pot dish and there is less clean-up after dinner. This soup also reheats well for lunch the next day too-just add your chips when you reheat it and top with cheese.
This recipe is also very versatile. You can use roasted salsa, unroasted salsa, mild, medium or hot salsa to give it a different flavor. My family likes cannellini beans (white kidney beans), but you can do pinto, black beans or even red kidney beans. I also prefer low-sodium chicken broth, but if you prefer more salt, definitely use the regular broth. The chips at the bottom of the bowl also gives it some salt. You can modify this soup to the way you like it.
Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tablespoon olive oil
¾ teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon cumin
5 cups of chicken broth
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 15oz can of beans, drained and rinsed (l love Cannellini beans)
1 cup chopped onion (optional)
¾ teaspoon chili powder
1 ½ Tablespoons lemon juice
10 oz salsa (I like roasted salsa and think the roasted flavor makes this soup!)
Cheese, either jack or cheddar works best (optional)
In your large soup pot, sauté your chicken in one Tablespoon of olive oil for 5-7 minutes on each side. Add the cumin and minced garlic and sauté for another minute. Remove your chicken to your cutting board and quickly dice into ½ inch pieces. If it’s still slightly pink inside, don’t worry, it will finish cooking when it simmers with the rest of the soup.
If you like a smooth soup, use your immersion blender to quickly blend up your salsa. If you prefer chunkier salsa, leave it as is. Add your chicken broth, salsa, corn kernels, onion (optional), beans, chili powder, lemon juice and chopped chicken back to your soup pot. Simmer on medium to low for 20-30 minutes.
To serve, crush tortilla chips on the bottom of the bowl and pour soup over the chips. Top with cheese and enjoy!
I like the big 32 oz boxes of low sodium. You will need one more cup than the box pictured, so I usually grab a can and use one extra cup from there or I use water and bullion. Fresh lemon juice really adds a nice zing to this soup. My family does not eat onions, unfortunately, and they are not pictured. Chopped onions are optional and the recipe is great with or without them.
I like a nice roasted salsa and most salsas are over $5 at my local chain grocery store. This one is under $3 at my local Trader Joe’s and the flavor is in between mild and medium.
If you like a smooth soup, you can use an immersion blender on your salsa. This is optional and you can certainly leave your salsa chunky.
After you saute’ the chicken with the garlic and cumin, transfer it to a cutting board and chop into 1/2 inch pieces. Add the chicken back when you are adding the other ingredients to your large soup pot.
Once you add all of your ingredients to your soup pot per the directions, stir and let your soup simmer on low to medium for 20-30 minutes to combine the flavors.
To serve this soup, crush chips at the bottom of the bowl and pour the soup over your chips. Top with either cheddar or jack cheese. I will admit that I top my soup with more cheese than is pictured . Enjoy.
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