Raise your hand if you found yourself craving soup lately.
As soon as word spread of this week’s unseasonably cold temperatures, many of us started daydreaming about a big batch of something warm, cozy and comforting on the stove. Over the weekend, you might have had game-day gumbo like I did, but by Tuesday night when the temps fell below freezing, the idea for soup was firmly planted. Did you pull out your grandmother’s vegetable beef soup recipe, or whip up some kid-friendly chicken noodle? Maybe you concocted vegan-friendly pots of tomato basil or roasted carrot with fresh ginger? The possibilities are endless, and so satisfying when it’s cold out.
For me, the soup craving was realized with one of my all-time favorites: chicken tortilla soup. But to pull it off without hassle mid-week, I used the following easy recipe with pre-cooked chicken and store-bought stock. It was done in no time and tasted delicious, especially with all those fun garnishes. A few chunks of avocado and a squirt of lime later, and I was on my way to belly-rubbing bliss.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Servings: 6 to 8
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (preferably yellow, orange or red)
1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced with seeds and ribs removed if you don’t want heat
3 large garlic cloves, minced
32-ounce (4 cups) carton chicken broth
2 14.5-ounce cans petite diced tomatoes and their juice
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
2-3 cups chopped or shredded chicken (a rotisserie chicken works great)
1 10-ounce bag frozen corn
1 tablespoon lime juice (about half a lime)
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or regular paprika)
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt and black pepper to taste
Fresh cilantro, diced avocado, shredded cheese, sour cream, fresh limes and homemade tortilla strips*
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven on medium high. Sauté the onion, bell pepper and jalapeño pepper for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and sauté another 2 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes and juice, beans, chicken, corn, lime juice and spices. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Ladle into bowls and serve with garnishes.
*To make homemade tortilla strips, heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut yellow or white corn tortillas into ¼-inch strips. Toss with a little olive oil and a sprinkling of Kosher salt, and arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake for 18 minutes or until crisp.
Maggie Heyn Richardson is a regular 225 contributor. Reach her at hungryforlouisiana.com.