Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup

I like to put this soup in a crockpot and cook it all day while I'm at work (I usually get it ready in the pot the night before, stick it in the fridge and then just turn it on before I leave). You can omit the chicken if you want to serve it as an appetizer and/or for vegetarians.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed chicken broth
1 1/2 cups corn kernels (fresh are better, but frozen or canned will work!)
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 can garbanzo beans
1/2 can pinto beans
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese 

Garnishes (optional) - tortilla strips, lime wedge, cilantro, avocado....

Crockpot Directions:   You can put all of the ingredients in the pot with the exception of the chicken, set it to low or medium, and let it cook for around 3-4 hours (or up to infinity).   

For the chicken, season it with a little salt and pepper, then sear it in olive oil until just browned on each side (about 5 mins).  It won't be cooked all the way through, but that doesn't matter, you are just doing this for flavor and texture.  Let it rest on paper towels to drain, then add to the pot.  You can actually skip this step if you are in a rush, but I don't recommend throwing the chicken in without browning it slightly - it will taste okay, but bland.  Ladle the hot soup into serving bowls, and top with cheese, tortilla strips, and any additional garnishes.

Tips -  You can easily make your own tortilla garnish by slicing a few tortillas into strips and quickly frying them in a pan with a bit of oil.  Drain, sprinkle with salt, and voilà - much tastier than store bought!  I serve this in mini trifle bowls... cause it looks cute.

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