Recipe 2: Chicken Tortilla Soup

Today it was raining off an on, which in San Diego means it’s probably winter. At least when compared to the 80F Sunday we had last week. On days like these, I aim to make food that heats you from the inside out. And today, that recipe was my tortilla soup with chicken.

Recipe 2: Chicken Tortilla Soup

Notes: This soup is very much adjustable to suit your penchant for spiciness. I accidentally added more jalapeño than I meant, so I had to dull the spice down with a little milk. One of the things I added today that is now permanently a part of the recipe is a can of hominy. It’s a very tasty way to get a ton of vegetables in your diet.


  • 1/2 of a large purple onion, diced
  • 1  can (14.5 oz-ish)  fire-roasted tomatoes (I like the ones with garlic)
  • 1 can (15.5 oz-ish) hominy, rinsed.
  • 3 teaspoons of minced garlic (I have a container in my fridge)
  • 1/2 small jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 ancho or poblano chile, seeded and chopped into thin ribbons.
  • 4 chicken “tenders”
  • 1 tomatillo, diced (optional, I used an unripe green tomato this evening)
  • Salt to taste (give it time to develop first, then salt)
  • Cumin to taste (about 2 tsp)
  • Water (about 2-3 cups) or chicken broth (better).
  • Garnish: avocado cubes, chopped cilantro, fried tortilla strips or crushed chips, and a splash of lime juice.


Gather your ingredients and chop all chiles and the onion. Add a little olive oil to your soup pot (a medium-size saucepan works) and add the garlic. Medium-high heat until the garlic starts to brown, and then add all of your peppers, onion, and tomatillo, stirring here and there until the onions start to look translucent. Then, add the canned tomato and the cumin, stirring to combine and cook until the liquid is almost gone. Add your chicken broth or water to your desired level (no higher than 3 inches from the top of the pot) to deglaze the pan of all the caramelized vegetables, and bring to a boil. Add the chicken and the can of hominy and allow to cook down for about 20 minutes. Taste test along the way, and try to pull the chicken apart into shreds.

If it’s too spicy, you can add a little splash of milk to lessen the heat. Keep in mind, the avocado garnish cools the peppers down a bit when you eat a bite.

To serve, spoon some of the soup into a bowl with a mound of the solids in the middle. Roughly chop some cilantro and sprinkle on top, add some cubed avocado or even a dollop of sour cream, then some tortilla strips (crisped or “raw”) and a splash of lime juice. Just be prepared to finish the entire pot that night. Leftovers don’t last with this soup, it’s too tasty!

I encourage you to make it your own. Seriously. Add some paprika or maybe some black olives. Omit the chicken or use beef instead. This soup base is very forgiving. Just watch the heat. I’d avoid serrano chiles in this one, too.


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