Chicken Tortilla Soup


My dad (or Popsi, as we call him) has been searching for the perfect chicken tortilla soup outside of Mexico.

I need to check with him if he found it or not.

I also need to ask him what makes the perfect chicken tortilla soup.  I imagine the rundown would be super-fresh ingredients, savory homemade broth, and tender chicken.  Simple and fresh, with a simmering-all-day deep flavor.

I attempted chicken tortilla soup this weekend, on a steamy 90-degree Sunday.  I had leftover chicken and found this recipe from The Pioneer Woman.


I changed a lot of the recipe out of necessity because I didn’t have all the ingredients:

  • No black beans: skipped ’em and added 1/2 cup of chopped cashews. Not a necessary ingredient but I like the chew they added.
  • No Rotel: I subbed fire-roasted diced tomatoes and roasted Hatch chile peppers.  I got the Hatch peppers from HyVee, but they have a pretty short season.  If you can’t find them, you could use green chiles or roast red peppers.
  • No tomato paste: skipped it and didn’t notice a difference.

I have to say, the results were fantásticoMuy delicioso.  I can’t wait to make this more often for crisp fall and chilly winter days.



Chicken Tortilla Soup
Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman

2 chicken breasts, cooked then diced or shredded (1-1.5 lb)
1 cup diced green pepper
1 cup diced red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 T olive oil
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 (15 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 Hatch chile peppers, roasted* and diced OR 1 small can diced green chiles
6 cups water + 4 tsp chicken bullion OR 4 cups chicken broth + 2 cups water
1/2 cup chopped cashews
5 corn tortillas, cut into 2-3 inch strips
3 T corn meal or Maseca
Toppings: lime juice, cilantro, tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocado

Cook the chicken and then shred or dice into bite-sized pieces.
Heat olive oil in large soup pot.  Add pepper, onion, and garlic,  and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add spices and cook 30 seconds, stirring often. Then add tomatoes, chile peppers, and water/bullion or chicken broth.
Stir and bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer 45 minutes, uncovered.
Combine cornmeal with a little water to make a slurry then stir into soup.
Simmer another 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and add tortilla strips and cashews.
Add any toppings you like and serve. (We used lime juice, cilantro, tortilla chips, and sharp cheddar cheese.)

*To roast peppers, place them on a foil-lined sheet and under the broiler.  Turn with tongs every few minutes, until all sides are black.  Remove the peppers, and wrap the foil around the peppers to steam for 10 minutes.  Remove the foil and peel the skin.


I don’t know if this would be a top contender for Popsi’s Soup Search list but it’s pretty good for north of the border.

Have a great day, everyone. Hug someone you love!


2 thoughts on “Chicken Tortilla Soup

  1. The soup looks delicious! I’m sure it would be Popsi-approved. I’ve never heard of putting cashews in soup, but I will have to try it sometimes. I think you’re right – the key is fresh, simple ingredients. And I’m sure having to order it in Spanish and getting tortillas de maiz to go along with it doesn’t hurt any!

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