This is one of my family’s favorite soups, and I hate to sound braggy, but I think it’s the best tortilla soup I’ve ever tasted. Now, being fair, I haven’t tasted a lot of other tortilla soups, but the ones I have were nothing more than a Mexican-inspired vegetable soup topped with some tortilla chips..not too interesting.
This is a very simple soup, but what makes it special are the soft corn tortillas that are blended into the soup. You start by sauteing the onions in a little oil, then throw in a couple handfuls of soft corn tortilla pieces along with the seasonings. Once the tortillas start to get mushy, you add the chicken stock and tomatoes. Then comes the magic..blending the soup with your handy little immersion blender until it’s smooth. If you don’t have one, go get one, now..you won’t regret it. But if you can’t wait and want to make the soup right this second, then throw it in a blender. If you use a blender, blend the soup in batches and only fill your blender container half-way so you don’t end up with a hot mess on your hands..and counter..and stove..and walls..
If your blended soup isn’t as thick as you’d like, just thrown in a couple more chopped up tortillas and blend again. And if it’s too thick, add a little more stock or water. Once you get it to the right consistency, add your beans and chicken, check your seasoning, simmer until it’s all good and hot, and you’re done. So ridiculously simple, and so, so good. And of course it’s healthy too!
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 4-6 small soft corn tortillas, cut into bite-size pieces
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 3 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 pound cooked chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
- baked tortilla strips
- garnishes of your choice such as avocado, cheese, and chopped cilantro
- In a large stock pot, saute oil, onions, and a pinch of salt over medium heat until onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the chipotle pepper, garlic, all of the seasonings, and the corn tortilla pieces to the onion. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until tortillas start to get soft, about 5 minutes. If tortillas stick to the pan, add a little more canola oil.
- Add the chicken stock, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes and their juices. Increase heat to medium-high and bring soup just to a boil, then reduce to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the soup from the heat, and blend the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. The soup should be the consistency of a thick tomato soup. If the soup is too thick, add a little more stock or water. If the soup isn’t thick enough, add a couple more soft tortillas and blend again.
- Add the black beans and chicken to the soup, and increase to medium heat, cooking until the beans and chicken are hot, about 10-20 more minutes. Taste for seasoning and if needed add more to suit your taste.
- Top with baked tortilla strips and your favorite Mexican garnishes.
- To make the baked tortilla strips, slice 4 soft corn tortillas into ¼ inch strips, then cut in half in the opposite direction. Toss with a tablespoon of canola oil and a little kosher salt, and bake on a cookie sheet at 375 until the strips are lightly brown and start to get crispy, about 10 minutes. Stir the strips once or twice so that they brown evenly.