Tortilla(ish) Soup

This recipe’s name is a bit of a misnomer, because legit tortilla soup has actual tortilla strips in it. I’ve always found that to be more work than it’s worth, because really I just like eating this soup with tortilla chips on the side. This more-chili-like-chip-approach allows you to alternate between treating your soup like chips n’ dip and using your chip as a vehicle to your mouth…and just crushing chips with your bare hands like an ape into your bowl as you eat so they never get TOO soggy. Both solutions are very classy, highly sociable behaviors that require no apologies, ever.

Ingredients (makes 8-10 servings of soup)

  • 2 large boneless chicken breasts (whole)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green jalepeno, diced
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen sweet corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 can (10 oz) rotel tomatoes and chiles, not drained
  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes, not drained
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 32 oz stock (vegetable or chicken)

For garnishes

  • Cilantro
  • Scallions
  • Lime wedges
  • Avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Grated cheese
  • Picked jalepenos (my fave)


Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large soup pot, and add the chopped white onion, diced garlic cloves, and diced jalapeno pepper. Saute until the onion turns translucent (don’t cook on too high a heat or your garlic will burn).

Next add the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt. Stir and cook another minute or two, till the spices become fragrant.


Now add your green and red bell pepper, and saute another 2 minutes. Then add the can of rotel, the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, the black beans and the corn kernels. Give everything a good stir to combine the tomato paste, and then fill the pot with stock (and if needed a bit of water). You want enough liquid that it still feels like soup and not stew. Place your two whole chicken breasts in the soup (submerged, not atop like the picture below) and allow to come up to a simmer.


Simmer the soup for about 15-20 minutes, till the chicken breasts seem mostly cooked. Then remove the chicken breasts and place on a cutting board to cool for a minute (till you can handle them). You can allow the soup to continue simmering during this time. Shred the chicken using your fingers or two forks (whichever you prefer) and toss back into the soup as you go.


Allow to cook another few minutes and then remove from the heat. This soup will be great the first day, and doubly great the second day. Garnish with all manner of things, incorporate tortilla chips however you damn well please, and enjoy.


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