I have been craving Chicken Tortilla Soup for weeks. I finally went to the supermarket today to gather all of the ingredients needed. If you are interested, here's the recipe:
1 Whole Chicken
3 Carrots, small dice
3 Stalks of Celery, small dice
1 Large Onion, small dice
6 Cloves Garlic, finely minced
1 15oz. can Petite Diced Tomatoes (not drained)
1 15oz. can Chili Beans (not drained)
1 15oz. can Pinto Beans (drained and rinsed)
2 cups corn, more if you'd like
1 cup salsa (use your favorite type)
10-12 cups of water
3 Tablespoons "Better than Bullion"
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder (I use Grandma's Chili Powder)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Limes to squeeze on top for that fresh citrus flavor
Saute onion, celery and carrots in olive oil until soft. Add garlic and saute for a minute or two. Add water and Better than Bullion (make sure the bullion dissolves). Meanwhile, skin the chicken, make sure to remove as much visible fat as possible, and drop it into the pot. Cook the chicken until it reaches 180 degrees. Remove the chicken and cool until you can handle it. Shred the chicken or cut into little pieces and add it back to the pot. Add everything else listed: beans, corn, tomatoes, salsa & chili powder. Simmer until all flavors meld together, approximately 30 minutes or so. The flavors get better as it sits.
*Better than Bullion is indeed much better than bullion cubes or chicken broth. In a pinch, use anything you have, but Better than Bullion is the way to go if possible.
*Use boneless skinless chicken breasts if you don't want to deal with the whole chicken. Sometimes whole chickens are ridiculously cheap, so that's why I used the whole thing today.
*Add more/less veggies to taste. Next time I will probably use a bit more onion.
*Use marinated jalapenos if you want a bit of a kick. I love vinegar, so sometimes I just spoon out some of the marinade to use on top of the soup instead, or in addition to the jalapenos themselves. Using a teaspoon or more of the marinade gives the flavor without the kick of the jalapeno itself.
*The squeeze of lime finishes the soup off nicely. Squeeze the fresh lime into the soup right before serving.
*Use whatever beans you'd like. If you do use other beans besides Chili Beans, rinse and drain before adding to the pot. The Chili Beans are in a marinade that goes well with the recipe. Black, Chili, Pinto, Kidney, etc... work well in this soup too. Use whatever you have on hand.
*This list looks like quite a bit of stuff, but it really is an easy soup to make.
The verdict: I will be keeping this recipe for quite a long time. It is awesome!!! It's kind of an amalgam of a bunch of different recipes I have seen, but of course had to put my own twist on it. Try it, you'll like it. :)