Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tortilla Soup

Tortilla soup is one of my all-time favorites.  I judge every Mexican restaurant we go to by how good the tortilla soup is.  In my opinion, it should be filled with veggies and chicken and served in a savory broth with a bit of heat behind it.  It has a bad reputation for being not so good for you, but if you just nix the tortilla strips and cheese, it's actually pretty healthful.  Don't get me wrong, it's delicious with the tortilla chips and cheese, but it's equally delicious with just some avocado and cilantro. 

This recipe was given to our family by one of my mom's best friends years and years ago.  It has been beloved ever since.  It's the only recipe that is laminated and permanently kept on my kitchen counter.  I've altered it ever so slightly over the years, but I've stayed pretty true to the original.

3 Tbs. of butter or canola oil
1 lb. boneless chicken breast, diced
2 poblano peppers, chopped
2 Anaheim chili peppers, diced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 white or yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bag frozen corn
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. chicken base
1 tsp. salt
2 bay leaves
15 oz. tomato juice
3 quarts water

Melt butter or heat canola oil in a large pot on medium high heat.  Add the chicken and cook for about 7 minutes.  Add the poblano peppers, Anaheim chilies, jalapeno, onion, and garlic and saute until vegetables are softened.  Add the bag of frozen corn and cook for another 5 minutes. 

Add cumin, pepper, chicken base, salt, and bay leaves.  Give everything a stir and cook for another 2 minutes.  Go easy on the salt for now.  There's a lot of sodium in the chicken base and in tomato juice.

Add the tomato juice and water.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer on low for 20 minutes.  Check the seasoning and adjust to your taste.  Remove bay leaves. 

Ladle into bowls and garnish with whatever you like - tortilla chips, shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado, cilantro - all winners.