Cinco de Mayo Meal: Classic Tortilla Soup

May 5, 2009

My Classic Tortilla Soup

My Classic Tortilla Soup

I'm calling this recipe Classic Tortilla Soup, but I probably should have come up with something more original.  I've been testing, tweaking, tasting, changing, experimenting, adapting this recipe for many years. I was originally trying to duplicate the awesome Tortilla Soup from Mi Cocina in Dallas.

When I go back home to Texas for a visit, one of my very favorite places to stop in and have Mexican food is Anamia's in Southlake. They have an excellent Taco Salad and a perfect Tortilla Soup.  I love their soup and haven't yet been able to duplicate it exactly,  but I'm happy with my version of Classic Tortilla Soup.

Tortilla Soup is a little like pizza, spaghetti sauce, or chili because you know exactly how you like it. If you're from Chicago, like SirHoney, you're very particular about your pizza and spaghetti, and, of course the Italian sausage. For cryin' out loud, there is no Italian Sausage that they think comes close to what they get in Chicago.  And, if you're from Texas, like we are, you're probably pretty picky about your chili. I've shared my prize winning recipe for chili here.

So, I make my Tortilla Soup the same way that I make my Chili. I make it EXACTLY the way I like it. Before I get to the recipe, here are a few things that I LOVE about Tortilla Soup and a few things that I DO NOT like in Tortilla Soup.

  • I LOVE a clear broth where the big chunks of tomato and other veggies aren't pureed into the broth.
  • I LOVE adding corn to Tortilla Soup, the same way I add it to my Chicken Enchilada Soup and my Chili Con Carne.
  • I LOVE using Emeril's Seasoning in my soup, instead of just cumin and oregano.
  • I LOVE huge chunks of avocado in my soup.
  • I LOVE adding onions for flavor, but  instead of dicing, I cut them into large slices so I can pick them out. (I know I'm weird.)
  • I DO NOT like a dark, thick base for a Tortilla Soup.
  • I DO NOT like celery, so it's not in my soup.
  • I DO NOT like zucchini, so none in my soup.
  • I DO NOT like bell pepper, but this is my only compromise. My guys like it, so for milder flavor, I use a red, orange, or yellow bell pepper and also cut it in large chunks so I can pick it out.
Now that is a perfect bite!

Now that is a perfect bite!

Classic Tortilla Soup

1 1/2 T. Olive Oil
1 large sweet onion, cut into large slices
2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 c. carrots, cut into medium size pieces
8 c. low sodium chicken broth
1 large orange bell pepper, cut into large slices
1 c. frozen corn kernels
28 oz. can stewed tomatoes
6 chicken breasts, cooked, and shredded or diced (I like shredded)
2 or 3 T. Emeril's Seasoning (see recipe below)
10 corn tortillas, cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 tsp. chili powder


grated co-jack cheese
chopped avocado

Saute onion, garlic, and carrots in olive oil until onion and carrots soften a little. Pour broth into pot, bring to simmer over medium heat. Add corn, stewed tomatoes and bell pepper. Simmer until pepper starts to soften. Add chicken and Emeril's Seasoning. Keep soup on low simmer until ready to serve.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread just a little olive oil on a baking sheet. Arrange tortilla strips on baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little chili powder and salt. Bake until crisp and golden (15 -20 minutes).  Toss halfway through baking.

Ladle soup into a nice large bowl, top with cheese, avocado, cilantro, and tortilla strips. Perfecto!

Emeril's Seasoning

2 1/2 T. Paprika
2 T. Salt
2 T. Garlic Powder
1 T. Black Pepper
1 T. Onion Powder
1 T. Cayenne Pepper
1 T. dried Oregano
1 T. dried Thyme

Mix all ingredients together in a small container and you've got BAM!

And not to worry! We didn't forget about the dessert. To finish off our Cinco de Mayo Menu, BigSis has a festive Mexican Chocolate Rice Krispie Treat recipe. So, be sure to check back here later today!

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!


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