Soup’s On Sunday: Zesty Corn Tortilla Soup

Social media is blowing up with talk of SNOW in southeastern Wisconsin this morning.

What the what?

No thanks, you can keep the snow.

I’m not ready for it. My current heat bill is a-okay the way it is, thank you very much. People need more time for leaf raking. And finding their hats and mittens from storage.

Jack isn’t ready to take on the role of Frosty. He can keep his November/December reservation and give us a couple more weeks, can’t he?

Well, just in case…

If there’s going to be crazy snow nonsense, let’s at least be prepared.

Let’s make some soup!


My mother-in-law made this soup for a Packer game a couple of years ago, and we lucked out by showing up to watch the game with them that day. She went all out and made fried tortilla strips to top it off, plus sour cream, cheese, the works. I couldn’t stop talking about it and have been making it at our place ever since. 

It’s a versatile soup. Forgiving too. If you cook the veggies too long, or don’t chop the onions like a pro? It doesn’t matter — they are all getting puréed anyway, so you can’t really mess it up. And if chicken isn’t your thing, skip it and go heavy on the veg. 

The chicken you use is up to you — for the best flavor, cook the chicken pieces (3 thighs or 2 breasts) in the olive oil in a large Dutch oven, (the same pot you’ll be using for the soup) browning both sides, before adding the other vegetables. Then remove the chicken before puréeing the soup to shred it, and then return chicken to the pot after you have puréed soup. Leftover roasted chicken meat works like a charm, but you can do any cut of chicken for this recipe. If you use leftover chicken pieces, wait to add them in until after you have puréed the other ingredients. 

1 dried ancho chili                                          2 heaping cups chicken, shredded

2 tablespoons olive oil                                    4 corn tortillas

1 large onion, chopped                                  6 cups chicken broth (or vegetable)

2 carrots, chopped                                         2 stalks celery, large dice

3 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered            2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 large can (28 oz.) chopped tomatoes -we used stewed tomatoes, frozen from the garden

½ cup cilantro leaves

First things first, we need to activate the flavor in that dried pepper — put it in a bowl and pour a cup of boiling water over it, and let it soak for at least a half hour, while you prep the other ingredients.

IF you need to cook your chicken, do that now, using the olive oil, over medium-high heat.

Grab the pepper that has been soaking and drain the water. Remove the stem and the seeds from inside and slice it into strips.

Add onion, carrots and celery to the pot.  (if using leftover chicken, add the olive oil now for cooking veggies) Cook 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add in your garlic and cumin and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Stir in broth, chili, tomatoes and cilantro and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes.  Tear tortillas into pieces and add to soup.  Continue to simmer for another 20 minutes. (*If you still have your chicken in the pot, remove it now and shred it.)

Remove from heat and using an immersion blender, puree the soup until it’s nice and smooth. Return/add the chicken to the soup and salt and pepper to taste.

Toppers: sour cream, shredded cheese, green onions, tortilla strips or chips, avocado, cilantro, or anything else that makes you happy.

Stay warm, my friends. I’m headed back under the covers — with fingers crossed that this talk of snow was just talk. (and that the Packers win today!) 🙂

PS: It’s my brother’s birthday today — no clowning around… Happy Birthday, Jamie!

4 thoughts on “Soup’s On Sunday: Zesty Corn Tortilla Soup

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