The Best Soup on a Chilly (or Not so Chilly) Night

Soup, in my opinion, is the best thing about winter. I have my go-to’s — curried butternut squashwhite bean and pancetta, lentil sausage— but this weekend I felt like switching it up. This recipe is a conglomeration of recipes I found online, and it’s absolutely freakin’ delicious. Admittedly, the list is longer that I would like, but I found half the ingredients in my pantry, the rest were inexpensive at the grocery store.

Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 can of black beans, drained
1 can of corn, drained
1 can of chopped tomatoes and green chilies (I used Muir Glen)
1 15 oz can of whole tomatoes, plus their juices
4-6 cups of chicken stock
3 tablespoons heavy cream, plus a blob of cream cheese (optional)

juice of 1/2 lime, plus more for serving
A bunch of cilantro
Tortilla chips for topping

In a large soup pot, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and let it preheat over medium-high heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, then add them to the pot, searing on both sides until they’re starting to turn golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Set aside on a plate.

Turn the heat down to medium. Remove a tablespoon or so of chicken fat if a lot has rendered out. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil, then dump in your onion, jalapeño, red pepper, and garlic. Sauté for 5 or 6 minutes or until they start to cook down.

Add the spices — cumin and chili powder, along with a good squirt of tomato paste. Stir together for 1 minute.

Add the black beans, corn, chopped tomatoes, whole tomatoes, and chicken stock. Submerge the chicken thighs back in the liquid. Turn the heat up, let the soup come to a boil, then cover and let simmer over low heat for 45 minutes.

Remove the chicken with tongs, let cool slightly, then chop or tear meat into bite size pieces. Return to soup and add the squeeze of lime juice, some chopped cilantro, plus your heavy cream and cream cheese, which adds a wonderful creaminess and body to the soup. It isn’t necessary but it sure is TASTY.

Serve with crumbled tortilla chips, sour cream, more chopped cilantro, some slices of cilantro, and hot sauce.

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