Last week I had the best Chicken Tortilla Soup of my life. I spontaneously ordered soup and a side of guac and chips from the Upper East Side-spot called La Esquina and have been craving the soup ever since. The chicken was super tender and shredded thinly, the broth was full of flavor from tomatoes, onion and chile, and the avocado, queso fresco and tortilla strips. I was determined to recreate it at home.
I did research to find the perfect recipe and experimented last night (as seen on my Instagram Stories). Roasting the tomatoes, onions and garlic first on a skillet so they get charred and soft makes a big difference. It reminds me of when I was making mole sauce in Mexico City and we charred everything first to help develop that deep smoky flavor in the sauce. I love this snapshot below.
If charring and roasting the tomatoes, onion and garlic feels like too much for your day, I totally understand. Here are a few other highly-rated recipes I’ve found.
- The Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Food Network Kitchen’s Easy (and healthy!) Tortilla Soup
- Trisha Yearwood’s Chicken Tortilla Soup with beans and corn
- The Kitchn’s Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
I adapted the recipe for the one I made from Marcela Valladolid. Here’s what I did below! For the chicken, I cooked it in the tomato mixture, but you have a lot of options here – it would be just as easy to bake the chicken while you’re roasting the tomatoes/onion/garlic. (Drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook at 425 degrees for about 15-18 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken. Let rest and shred.) An even easier option would be to just purchase a rotisserie chicken from the store and shred. Done!
- 4 large plum tomatoes
- 1 small white onion, peeled
- 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 2 dried chipotle peppers, or one chipotle pepper from a can
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 corn tortillas, torn into large pieces
- 4 thin chicken breast cutlets or 3-4 cups of shredded rotisserie/baked chicken
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Tortilla chips or fry/bake some strips of your corn tortillas above for crunch
- Queso fresco or cheese
- Heat a heavy saute pan (or cast-iron skillet) over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, peeled onion, and unpeeled garlic cloves. Roast, turning frequently, until the garlic is soft, about 10 minutes. Remove the garlic when soft, but slightly blackened. Peel the garlic and set aside. Remove the onion and set aside. Continue to cook the tomatoes until charred and blackened, another 5 minutes.
- Put the garlic, chile/chipotle, onion, tomatoes, tortillas and 2 cups chicken broth in a blender. Blend until smooth. (Be very careful! Make sure to leave the top of the lid open a bit to release steam and put a towel on top.)
- Pour into a large saucepan and add the remaining 2 cups chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat. Add shredded chicken simmer for 20 minutes. Season with amounts of salt and pepper, to taste.
- Note: In my Instagram Story, I added the raw chicken cutlets to the sauce mixture and simmered until the chicken was cooked, then I removed the chicken and shredded with two forks, allowing the sauce to continue simmering for a few minutes. I then returned the shredded chicken to the soup and continued simmering on low until I was ready to serve.
- To serve, top soup with sliced avocado, tortilla chips, cheese, fresh lime juice, cilantro, and any other favorite toppings.
I hope you’re feeling inspired to make some Chicken Tortilla Soup this week. Tag me on Instagram @gourmet_gab, so I can see your creations! Happy Meal Prep Sunday, everyone :)
Love food. Love self. Love life.