Chicken Tortilla Soup
Every year the art world descends upon Miami for a city-wide art extravaganza called, collectively, Art Basel. My third favorite thing about visiting (first being the beach, second being the art) is reading what snarky comments writers have to say about the event. Usually lots of acerbic comments about private jets and squillionaires dropping in, dropping bucketloads of money and flying out.
And then there is us: Economy seats. Back of the plane. Teeny tiny hotel sandwiched in-between the big daddys.
But we still love it! We go to Miami during Art Basel because, for about $25 per art fair, you can see the most incredible international contemporary art and the city is abuzz with people who just want to talk about, think about, look at, touch, pet and sniff cool art. It is food for the soul.
We also love it because the four of us (soon to be five) squeeze into a 500 ft sq hotel room with a Oreos in the mini bar and before we hit the fairs in the afternoons, we spend the days out by the pool and beach. Then, after naps, we stroll through tents and buildings packed full with art. Some good. Some bad. Some ugly. Some calming. Some confusing. Some intriguing. Some that Teddy could make. Some that maybe Grace did make.
As we depart on Sunday afternoon, having spent our vacation looking at art we can’t understand and can’t afford, we recognize how much we cherish the time together – on the beach, in the sun, scratching an itch, feeding our souls and appreciating the number of people who dedicate their lives to putting their feelings on paper, on canvas (on wood, on metal, in neon, on plastic, on toilet seats) and who love and hate what they do and who they are but who all feel so passionately about what they do.
After a week of fun in the sun we returned to the most dismal, cold, grey and misty weather I have ever seen in New Orleans. However I had the latin influence of Miami still ringing in my ears and it inspired me to make the most delicious Chicken Tortilla Soup ever.
There are tons of ways to make Tortilla Soup. Some involve cooking tortillas in the soup to make a creamy texture. Some use meat. Some are vegan. Some vegetarian. This particular recipe is a chicken based and uses a chicken broth and is absurdly easy. I add black beans and frozen corn (fresh when the time is right) to stretch it a bit and get some more veggies in there but you can take or leave those. This is a great soup to have in the cold of winter bit it is also light enough to have as a spring or fall soup. Consider it a starting point and add to it as you’d like.
One important thing: do not skip the “shredding chicken” step and dice it instead. The shredded chicken has a much, much better texture for the soup than chopped chicken breast.
Oh, and also, you can always add more chicken broth if you like your soup to be a bit more, well, soupy.
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) olive oil
- 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper
- 3/4 cup (175ml) low-sodium chicken broth
- Pat the chicken breasts dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper.
- In a large non-stick saucepan, over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil is rippling (showing that it is very hot) add the chicken breasts and cook for 5 minutes.
- Flip the chicken breasts after 5 minutes and add the chicken broth. Cover the pan and cook for 6-8 minutes or until a cooking thermometer reaches 160.
- Remove the chicken from the pan, set aside to let cool and reserve the cooking liquid. Once cooled shred the chicken by using a fork to pull it to pieces. Set aside.
- 3 - 4 shredded chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) of olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 1/2 to 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, diced (add more if you like things hot!)
- 1 28-ounce (825ml) can of fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 heaping teaspoon (6ml) ground cumin
- 1 heaping teaspoon (6ml) ground coriander
- 28-ounce (825ml) can or tetra pack of low-sodium chicken broth.
- 1 cup (235 ml) frozen sweet corn
- 1 can (8 oz) of black beans, drained
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro / coriander
- 1 whole avocado, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup of fresh chopped cilantro / coriander
- sour cream
- shredded cheese
- Heat a medium saucepan (or stock pot) over medium high heat. Add olive oil.
- When the olive oil is rippling, add onions, celery and jalapeno. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft - about 6 minutes. Some browning is absolutely okay.
- Add the canned tomatoes, cumin and coriander. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add shredded chicken, chicken broth and any left over liquid from cooking the chicken. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
- Remove lid. Add sweet corn, black beans, fresh cilantro, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then simmer until ready to serve.
- Serve topped with preferred garnish.
- This serves about 6 people as a main course.