The rich golden chicken stock I made yesterday was calling my name, begging me to make something wonderful with it. I have been eying Ina Garten’s recipe for Mexican Chicken Soup for a few weeks and figured this would be just the dish worthy of yesterday’s project. The result was a light yet satisfying soup with just the perfect amount spice. I didn’t simmer the tortillas in the broth as the recipe required (following directions has never been my strength). Instead, I put them in the bottom of each bowl and then also garnished the soup with the homemade chips on top (homemade as in I made the tortillas and the chips… keep reading). For added flavor, I topped the soup with chopped cilantro, and just a pinch of cheddar cheese.
Read on for photos and recipes
Before starting the soup, I baked 3 chicken breasts for 35 minutes at 350.º While the chicken is cooking, sautée onion, celery, and carrots in a large pot. Next, garlic, jalapeno, stock, and spices are added. Ina’s recipe called for a large can of whole peeled tomatoes, which I didn’t have on hand. Instead I used a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes and a small can of tomato paste. I also added a can of rinsed black beans for added fiber. If I had frozen kernel corn on hand I think that would have been a nice addition.
As I mentioned before, I made tortilla chips (albeit flour and not the requisite corn) to top the soup. When you’re in a cooking zone there is no greater buzz kill than missing an essential ingredient and having to run to the grocery store. It was for this very reason I figured, heck, I can just make the tortillas! I figured it couldn’t be too hard and found this recipe on Allrecipes. I scaled the recipe to 6 servings. I thought it was really easy, however, there was not enough salt. If I were to be using these for fajitas or something I will definitely add more salt to the dough. Maybe I would have taken a trip to the store if I had read the directions properly and realized I needed corn, not flour tortillas, but whatevs.
The tortillas were really easy to make. The trick to them is to roll them out very thinly. I started out trying to simply flatten them between plastic wrap using a heavy bottom skillet. This didn’t get the dough flat enough and when cooked, it was doughy and only tasted good enough to grace the inside of my trashcan. It was much easier using a rolling pin (though they were less uniform). The recipe calls for cooking them in a cast iron skillet but I just used a heavy bottom stainless steel pan (I used to have an iron skillet which I lost, how someone loses a 10 lb. piece of cooking equipment, I don’t know). Anyhow, the dough is just placed in a hot (medium-high) pan until bubbles appear on top. This only takes about a minute. Flip the tortilla and cook the other side for about a minute.
When they first came out of the pan, as I said before, they were lacking salt. But, I wasn’t done with them yet. I cut them into thin strips using a pizza cutter and placed them on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. I very lightly drizzled the strips with garlic infused olive oil and sprinkled them with salt and chili powder. After baking in a 400º oven for about 10 minutes they were brown, crispy, and full of flavor.
Mexican Tortilla Soup
Adapted from Ina Garten
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Good olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
- 1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
- 2 cups chopped carrots (2 carrots)
- 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade (recipe here
- 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
- ¼-½ cup cilantro
- Cheese, more cilantro, tortilla strips, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside. (I think the easiest way to shred chicken is just ripping it apart with 2 forks)
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste. Put a few tortilla strips in the bottom of a bowl and then ladle on the soup. Serve the soup hot topped with cilantro, grated Cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.
Adapted from Allrecipes
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¼ cup and 2 Tb. shortening (I used half chicken fat saved from making chicken stock) (I know, I know what I said about shortening, I had a couple tablespoons in the fridge and not enough chicken fat, I’m a failure).
- ¼ cup and 2 tablespoons hot water
- Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Either by hand or with a pastry cutter, cut in the shortening till the mixture is crumbly. If the mixture looks more floury than crumbly, be sure to add just one or two more tablespoons of shortening till it is crumbly. Add about 3/4 cup hot water to the mixture, or just enough to make the ingredients look moist.
- With your hand or a large fork, knead the mixture making sure to rub the dough against the sides of the large mixing bowl to gather any clinging dough. If the dough still sticks to the side of the bowl, add a couple more tablespoons of flour until the dough forms a soft round shape. The dough is ready to roll out now, but it is best to let it rest. Cover it with a dish towel, and let it sit for about an hour or so.
- Take the dough, and pull it apart into 6 or 7 balls. Lightly flour your rolling area, and roll each ball with a rolling pin to about 1/8 inch thickness.
- Place each tortilla on a medium hot cast iron skillet. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until the tortilla does not look doughy.