Monday, March 02, 2009

Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup

Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup 1

My first experience with Mexican chicken tortilla soup was in college, during my dorm's Sunday dinners. It was the only meal the dining halls didn't serve, so we either went out to eat or someone cooked and we all chipped in $5. The proceeds went to charity and the meals were usually planned around a theme in order to explore a country's culture and cuisine.

One night, the professor, affiliated with my dorm, decided to make chicken tortilla soup. What? I thought tortillas were only eaten with salsa or as part of nachos. And avocado in a soup? So strange. But the crispy/creamy combo of tortillas and avocado won me over.

These days, cousin Q makes Mexican chicken tortilla soup frequently enough to satisfy my cravings. He usually adds in one or two chipotle peppers, and then hands me the rest of the can. I like the spice, so I take the leftover can and make another pot with all of the chipotle peppers. Obviously, adjust to your taste.

I've substituted regular corn with hominy, the large white corn kernels, with good results. I sometimes add sliced Mexican white squash or zucchini. Garbanzo beans work well too. Really, as long as I have chicken, tomatoes, chipotle peppers, tortillas, and avocado, I'm happy.

Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup 2

Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup

For a 3-quart pot, you'll need:
2 chicken thighs or breasts
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
1 14-oz can corn or hominy, drained
1 8-oz can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 large onion, diced
1 tsp salt

For serving:
Tortilla chips, or thinly sliced fresh tortillas, baked or pan-fried until crispy
Mexican shredded cheese blend

Optional: sliced zucchini or garbanzo beans.

Dice onion. In a 5-quart pot, saute onion with a bit of olive oil until softened. Add two pieces of chicken and brown in the pot. Add about 3 quarts of water and 1 tsp salt, and turn the heat to high. When the water boils, skim the scum, turn the heat down to medium, and let simmer for about 45 minutes.

Yay! You've just made chicken broth.

Remove the chicken from the pot, shred the meat and add it back in. Add 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 can of corn, and 1 can of chipotle pepper (or less if you can't tolerate the heat). Let simmer for about 15 minutes to let the flavors meld. Taste and adjust if necessary.

Meanwhile, thinly slice fresh tortillas and pan-fry or bake them. Or you can just use packaged tortilla chips. It's also a great way to use up broken small chips at the bottom of the bag.

Dice an avocado. Chop cilantro if you wish.

Serve with tortilla strips, shredded cheese, avocado, and chopped cilantro.

Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup 3

Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup 4


Who else made Mexican tortilla soup?
Cousin Q insists on that spoonful of adobo sauce.

I'm submitting this recipe to Regional Recipes, a food blogging event created by Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok, in which a different culture and cuisine is explored each month. Please read the Regional Recipe rules to see if you'd like to participate. I'm this month's host and we're spotlighting Mexico.

My other Mexican recipes:
Carne Asada (Mexican Grilled Meat)
Chicken Enchiladas with Nutella Mole Poblano
Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea)
Mango Salsa
Nachos, Texas-Style
Salsa Fresca
Salsa Verde with Roasted Tomatillos
Squash Blossom Quesadilla
Sweet Corn Tomalito
Tacos al Pastor (Mexican Shepherd-Style Tacos)

1 year ago today, Meyer lemon shortbread bars.
2 years ago today, homemade potstickers with ground pork and turkey, bamboo shoots, and cabbage.


  1. I love the crunchy bits of tortilla in tortilla soup. It's a great contrast. I've never tried it with avocado before, bit it sounds delicious.

  2. There's a little whole-in-the-wall restaurant on Balboa Island (yes, there are wholes in the wall in the OC) that serves the best chicken tortilla soup. This looks JUST like it. I can't wait to try your recipe.

  3. I've never had tortilla soup but it looks lovely and the avocado is deliciously ripe! :)

    Christie @

  4. I love chicken tortilla soup! I like your picture with a little bit of everything in each bite!

  5. Hearty and tasty! There's a small restaurant on Venice called Gloria's Cafe that makes a delicious tortilla soup as well.

  6. Meal Planner,
    My cousin doesn't care for the avocado, but I love it and think it adds a great textural component.

    I know there's hole-in-the-walls in OC, just didn't expect any in Newport Beach. Heh.

    I'm lucky that avocado is readily available in SoCal. It's avocado season right now!

    I made two batches so I had to show each variation. :)

    Hehe. I've never been to Venice. If I go to the beach, it's Santa Monica usually. And I never go out there to dine out.

  7. Oooh, I meant on Venice blvd in Culver City/Palms- literally a few doors down from Versailles cuban food?

  8. Jeannie,
    Oh. Still haven't been though. ;)


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