Chicken Tortilla Soup

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After consuming all that rich, heavy food on Thanksgiving, followed by consuming several days of holiday leftovers, I am pretty much tired of eating. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every delicious moment and every delectable bite, but there comes a time when you have to say “Uncle!”

In an effort to combat that lingering feeling of being stuffed, I’ve been drinking smoothies and doubling up on my salads for the past few days. It’s helped, but it’s very boring. And I’m hungry two minutes after I slurp up that last bit of smoothie in the bottom corner of my cup. And when I chew the last piece of lettuce from a salad with no fun in it—i.e. homemade bacon bits, freshly grated cheese and generous dollops of thick ranch dressing—I’m disappointed. So when I had to come up with a recipe for a cooking segment on Charlotte Today, I decided to make soup. And not just any soup, something hearty with a lot of fresh ingredients.

As fate would have it, I was at Chick-Fil-A with my kids when inspiration hit me. I ordered the southwest salad and had a eureka moment. Chicken tortilla soup popped into my head, and I couldn’t get home fast enough to come up with a recipe. I know I could have googled a recipe for chicken tortilla soup, but I wanted a recipe that reflected my tastes and cooking style. I wanted a soup that was flavorful with a hint of heat, but not spicy.  Something filling but not heavy. Once I had my recipe, I was ready for my scheduled cooking demo on Charlotte Today

Unfortunately, a breaking press conference trumped regularly schedule programming, and I wasn’t able to make my chicken tortilla soup on air. But at least I have a recipe for a satisfying meal that doesn’t require a straw or leave me hungry.

Let me know when you make this recipe. Take a picture and hashtag it #QUEENCITYKITCHEN. I can’t wait to see what you post!

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Makes 8 servingschicken-tortilla-soup

Tortilla strips
6 (6-inch) corn tortillas
¼ cup canola oil
Kosher salt

Soup
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 pablano pepper, seeded and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
10 cups chicken stock
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with chiles
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons cornmeal
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups frozen corn
1 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon coarse-ground pepper
6 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
Juice of 1 lime

Garnish
Sour cream
Diced avocado
Diced tomatoes
Chopped red onion
Grated Monterey Jack cheese
Chopped fresh cilantro

Cut the tortillas in half. Cut the halves into ¼-inch thick strips. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a medium skillet. Fry the tortilla strips, in batches, until lightly browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain the tortilla strips on a paper-towel-lined plate and season with salt.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook until tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook 30 additional seconds. Stir in the cumin, chili powder and oregano.

Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, cornmeal, black beans, corn 1 ½ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoons pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the chicken and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and add the lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if necessary.

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