Monday, February 27, 2012

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Up until a few months ago, chicken tortilla soup was not on my radar.  I guess if I was ever craving Mexican food, I'd default to a proper burrito or enchiladas.  Recently, somehow, randomly chicken tortilla soup started coming up everywhere.  Totally random places, like on Kourtney & Kim Take New York, where Kris Jenner and Scott Disick to go lunch in Manhattan and she remarks the Kourtney loves chicken tortilla soup (thank you to keep your Kardashian judgments to yourself!) Or at the cafe in our complex where my coworker got a cup for lunch and it smelled like heaven.  Or finally when the Pioneer Woman posts a recipe and you know its over, you're hooked, and you have to give it a shot.  This is my love story with chicken tortilla soup.

Makes one big pot
Loosely adapted from the Pioneer Woman

2 chicken breasts
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes or 3 fresh diced tomatoes
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
Tomato paste
Taco seasoning
Chili powder
4 corn tortillas

Optional toppings: salsa, cheese, avocado, sour cream

1)  First step is to heat some olive oil in a dutch oven or big soup pot. Season chicken breasts with taco seasoning and add to the pot. Depending on the thickness, cook 4-5 minutes on each side until browned. Remove from pot and set aside.

2)  Add diced veggies to the pot, stirring around to prevent sticking. If you are using fresh tomatoes, add them now. Cook 5 minutes until the onions are translucent. If you are using canned tomatoes, add them at this point.

3)  Add the chicken broth, tomato paste, and chili powder. Stir and bring to a boil. In the meantime, shred the chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and add to the pot when boiling.

4)  Simmer for at least an hour, taste, and add more seasoning if needed (taco seasoning, chili powder, salt, and/or pepper). At the beginning I usually add less than I think is needed to avoid over salting the pot. It's easy to adjust later, not as easy if you added too much!

5)  Let simmer some more - simmering is good here people. If I was making this on a weekend, I would let it simmer for 3 hours.

6)  Last steps are to cut the tortillas into strips and prepare your toppings. This is your chance to make the dish as healthy or unhealthy as you wish. This time I went with salsa, cheddar cheese, and diced avocado. Throw the tortilla strips into the pot for the last 5 minutes.

Dish up, add your toppings, and savor every moment!

Couple parting thoughts:

- In all honesty, I'm semi over the Kardashians. Well, semi in that I think Kourtney and Khloe still cool but I'm totally over Kim. Like unfollowed her on Twitter OVER.

- Sorry for the lack of measurements this time, I will try to remember to write them down next time and update this post.

- If you can find tomato paste in a tube, I highly recommend that over the usual cans. How many times have you opened a can only to need 1 tablespoon of the stuff? That drives me nuts. Trader Joes and Whole Foods have tubes. Go tubes.

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