I must admit that this is one of the most robust and beloved soups to come out of our kitchen.
There are myriad versions of this soup all over the internet, some with fried tortillas some with chicken chunks and cream and some with no spices.
My version is most definitely inspired by our years in Arizona and that means this chicken tortilla soups has full and vibrant flavors, the scent of cumin as it wafts through the air and the absolutely essential earthy l flavor of cornmeal as I try to capture the incredible flavor of Arizona masa.
The combination of cornmeal and spices is pure magic and the thick strips of corn tortillas, soaked with with the soup is marvelous. You'll find this soup so hearty and so comforting that I doubt you'll take it off your meal rotation.
Not to mention how easy it all is with rotisserie chicken and canned black beans.
We're belly full and hooked. Over to you!
Spicy Shredded Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 Spanish red onion
1 red bell pepper
1 poblano pepper (optional)
1 large can (28 oz) black beans
canned 5 whole tomatoes in juices or 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
4-5 cloves peeled garlic
3-1/2 cup hand shredded rotisserie or cooked chicken
6 cups chicken stock, 8 corn tortillas
5 tbs yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Spices & seasonings:
1 tsp cayenne chili pepper or New Mexico ground pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp salt
Onion: Peel, cut and discard tops. Finely chop and set aside.
Red bell pepper & Poblano pepper: Cut off woody tops, discards seeds and membranes. Chop and set aside.
Garlic: Crush to release oils and chop
Tomatoes: Roughly chop, reserving all juices.
Black beans: Drain the beans in a sieve and wash under running tap water to remove excess starch.
Corn tortillas: Halve and cut into 1/2" wide short perpendicular stips.
In a deep heavy bottomed pot, add the vegetable oil and heat until very hot.
Add the garlic, chopped red bell peppers and onions. Add 1 tsp salt and saute for about 10 minutes on medium low heat. Saute until softened but not brown.
The salt will draw the moisture out of the onion, softening it and sweetening it as you saute.
Add the tomato and juices, black beans as well as the spices. Stir to combine.
Add all the chicken stock and increase the heat to medium hight. Bring the soup to a rolling boil.
Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add the shredded chicken and cornmeal. Do not cover and simmer for about 5 minutes allowing the soup to thicken. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Add the tortilla strips and stir. Cover for 5 minutes until the tortilla is soft.
Serve the soup immeditely with avocado slices, lime wedges and sour cream if desired.