There are few things more welcoming and comforting on a cold, rainy January day than the aroma of a pot of soup simmering on the stove. When I make soup I know I always have a meal ready if my day gets crazy or if family or friends stop by unexpectedly. Tortilla soup is a family favorite and when I ran across Ina’s recipe it was a “must-try” because I haven’t met one of her recipes I didn’t like. This recipe is good, but not great. It’s too thick for my taste and wasn’t as flavorful as I expected from the ingredient list. I do like to serve soups that call for bowls of condiments on the table so everyone can garnish their soup to suit themselves. If you love Ina’s recipes as much as I do I encourage to try this one. It may turn out to be your favorite.
- 4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
- Good olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups chopped onion (2 onions)
- 1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
- 2 cups chopped carrot (4 carrots)
- 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 2-1/2 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
- 2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
- ¼ to ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, optional
- 6 (6-inch) fresh corn tortillas
- For serving: sliced avocado, sour cream, grated cheddar cheese and tortilla chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. when the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low yeat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using. Cut the tortillas in half, then cut them crosswise into ½-inch strips and add to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste.
- Serve the soup topped with sliced avocado, sour cream, grated cheddar cheese and broken tortilla chips.
It isn’t unusual for me to take another shot at a recipe I wasn’t thrilled with. If the basics are good a few tweaks can sometimes change it into a dish that suits my family’s taste. Maybe adding half the amount of tomatoes would do the trick. Here are three of my tried and true recipes that I make over and over. Add a small salad and some crusty bread and you have a hearty and satisfying cold weather meal that is welcome any day of the week.