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RECIPE! Tortilla Soup

November 1, 2013 by Andrea Godfreyson, Registered Dietitian

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Andrea's Tortilla Soup:

Soup Ingredients
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
½ - 1 jalapeno, seeds and membrane removed and diced (use less if you don’t want it spicy)
1 chipotle pepper, canned in adobo sauce
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin1 tsp salt 
1 - 796 mL can diced or whole tomatoes (choose no-added salt or low sodium if available)
1 litre no-added salt chicken broth
1 – 540 mL can black beans, drained and rinsed well
2 cups of cooked chicken, shredded (you can use a store-bought cooked chicken to save time)

Toppings

  • Avocado, diced
  • Cheese (any grated cheese such as cheddar, Monterey jack or feta works – for a lower fat version, try a cheese with 15-20% milk fat)
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Fresh lime, wedges

To Prepare:

  1. In a large pot, add the vegetable oil and warm over medium heat. Add the garlic, green pepper, onion and jalapeno and fry until soft and translucent, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon.
  2. Add the chipotle pepper, coriander, cumin and tomatoes. If using whole tomatoes, break them up with the wooden spoon into chunks. Add the chicken broth and stir well.
  3. Bring the soup to a low boil, then turn down the heat and simmer with the lid off for about 10 minutes (or longer).
  4. Take the soup off the heat and ladle into a blender (or if you have one use an immersion blender in the pot). Blend until smooth and transfer back into the pot. Add a small amount of salt to taste as needed.
  5. With the pot on medium heat, add the black beans and cooked shredded chicken and heat through.
  6. Ladle the hot soup into a bowl and top with a tbsp or so of diced avocado, grated cheese and lots of fresh chopped cilantro. Squeeze a wedge or 2 of lime over the soup.

Makes about 12 cups (about 6 servings)

You may or may not have noticed that there aren’t any tortillas in my recipe. I like tortilla strips in my soup, but honestly, I don't miss them here.

If you do want to add some to top your soup, slice a few small corn tortillas into strips and pan fry them with a touch of oil until golden and crisp.


From scratch: poaching a chicken and making broth:

If I'm staying indoors on a weekend afternoon, I love making my own chicken broth and cooking a chicken at the same time for recipes like this. Here's how I do it:

Poaching a chicken

  • 1 whole chicken, skin removed
  • ½ - 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 stalks celery, cut up roughly
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • A few peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  1. In a large pot, place a whole chicken with the skin removed, and add just enough water to cover it.
  2. Bring this to a simmer (there should just be a few bubbles on the surface, you don’t want a rolling boil) and skim off the foam that rises to the top. Add the onion, celery, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves.
  3. Simmer with the lid off until the chicken is cooked, about an hour and 20 minutes. Occasionally skim the surface of the pot to remove any foam that rises to the surface.
  4. Once the chicken is cooked, take it out of the pot and let it cool so that you can handle it. Shred the chicken up using your hands or a couple of forks.
  5. Strain the broth. If you are not using it right away, let it cool and then freeze it for soup, rice or risotto another day.

Tips for quick cooling: To keep the broth safe to eat, it needs to cool down to below 4’C in less than 2 hours. You can either fill a sink with very cold water and then put the pot in the sink and stir the broth to help it cool quickly, or you can pour the broth into shallow containers (uncovered) and put them in the fridge until the broth is cool. Once the broth is cool, freeze it for soup, rice or risotto another day. 

The chicken can be used for anything you like and is a quick addition to tortilla soup, sandwiches or wraps, salads or pasta.

Enjoy!

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