perfect tortilla soup

 In All, Lunch, Sides

Rated as D Best by D Magazine!

A touch of lime, chipotle chiles, fresh cilantro, tomatoes, onions, and hand shredded chicken breast complements the simmered broth.

Serves 8

For the soup:

2 TB. unsalted butter

0.5 cup yellow onions, sliced thin

0.5 cup celery, sliced thin

0.5 cup carrots, sliced thin

10 cups water

2 tsp. chipotle puree (puree canned chipotles in blender)

2 bay leaves

2 tsp. oregano

2 tsp. basil

0.5 teaspoon white pepper

Salt to taste

1 chicken (2-3 pounds), cut up

1 cup tomatoes, peeled, sliced thin

1 cup red onion, sliced thin

0.5 cup cilantro, stems removed, chopped

For the garnishes:

3 cups vegetable shortening

10 corn tortillas

10 oz. grated Monterey Jack cheese

Additional diced tomatoes and cilantro

2-3 limes, cut in wedges


In a large stock pot (2 gallons), melt the butter over medium heat. Add yellow onions, celery and carrots.  Sauté until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).

Add water, chipotle puree, spices and chicken to sautéed vegetables and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 1 hour (or until chicken is thoroughly cooked). Skim off the fat and impurities that rise to the top. Remove the chicken from the soup. When it’s cool enough to handle, remove the skin and the bones from the chicken and shred the meat. Add the shredded chicken back to the soup. Add tomatoes, red onion and cilantro to the soup and cook for 5-10 more minutes.

Prepare the garnish:  To fry tortilla strips, heat vegetable shortening in a medium saucepan until hot, but not smoking. Cut tortillas in 1/4-inch strips and fry until crisp. It may be necessary to fry in batches. Drain on paper towels.

Divide the tortilla strips and put in soup bowls. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with grated cheese, diced tomatoes and cilantro. Squeeze a wedge of lime into each bowl and serve hot.

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