Sunday, December 8, 2013

Chicken Tortilla Soup

With all these frigid temps lately, all I can think about is making hot soup! I like to experiment with soup because there are so many different things that can be 'thrown together' to make a simple dinner.

For example, last night was a hot soup night because the heat in my hubby's work van decided to give up, and he had to work overtime - so he spent a 12+ hour work day freezing. :-(  I caramelized onions, tossed in chopped carrots and garlic, leftover brown rice, and black beans and turkey from the freezer. Poured in beef broth and water, and seasoned with rosemary, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Ta-da! Souper easy dinner ready when my hubby got home ;-)

Sometimes I write recipes down as I go, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I make something so often without a recipe, that I have to slow down and write it as I go so I can have a recipe to share! Today's recipe is one of those...

Chicken Tortilla Soup is one of my go-to meals when having guests over. It's so easy and inexpensive to put together, and best of all it makes a huge batch so even if you have a large family, or guests over, chances are you'll have plenty for leftovers or to freeze for another meal! This is perfect for a cold snowy day, but really goes over well any time of the year. This past summer I brought a pot of this soup for a potluck our Bible study group was having. I was asked for the recipe...and so finally this Fall I wrote it down as I made it...and now I am posting it for you!

Chicken Tortilla Soup (see notes below)

12 Quart Stock Pot*
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
3-4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (can use frozen or thawed)
1 large can (105oz) Crushed Tomatoes (I get these from Costco)
1 large can (102oz) Diced Tomatoes (I get these from Costco)
1 large can or 2 small cans Diced Green Chilies
3-4 Tablespoons Cumin (I buy in bulk from a local co-op)
1-2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
2 Pounds Dried Black Beans** (sorted, rinsed, soaked and cooked) or 6-8 cans (15oz each) Black Beans
4 Cups Water

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot. Add chicken. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, until just starting to brown.*** Add crushed and diced tomatoes, diced green chilies, cumin, and chili powder. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add black beans and water and simmer 30 minutes longer, or until chicken has reached 160 degrees. Remove chicken, shred with 2 forks (or cool slightly and use your hands), and stir back into soup.

Ladle into bowls, then top with shredded cheese, sour cream, black olives, fresh chopped chives, and tortilla chips. To spice it up a bit add a dash or two of hot sauce. Enjoy! Then have seconds :-)

Alternatively, you can make this in the crockpot. Omit the olive oil, and put the remaining ingredients into the crockpot. Stir. Set on low for 6-8 hours, until chicken is fully cooked (160 degrees). Remove chicken, shred then stir back into soup.

Keeps in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Freeze any remaining soup for another meal!



*I use a 12 quart stock pot for this recipe, but you could split it between two standard soup pots if you don't have a large stockpot, or cut the recipe in half to make a smaller batch. You can also make this in 2 large crockpots, or halve the recipe for 1 crockpot.

**I use dried beans that have previously been sorted, rinsed, soaked, and cooked. I normally cook beans from time-to-time and freeze them to have on hand when needed. Compared to canned, I love that they don't have salt added, and they are much cheaper to buy dried! Canned would work too though (1lb dried=3-4 cans; 2lbs dried=6-8 cans).

***To make this even easier you can omit the olive oil, stir everything into the pot, simmer 60-90 minutes (until chicken is fully cooked), shred chicken and add back to the soup. OR, if you have previously cooked/shredded chicken, use that in place of the fresh/frozen and just simmer soup for 30-45 minutes to blend flavors.

If you make this recipe - I would love to hear about it! I always encourage changing recipes up to make them your own; did you add/omit anything?