Chicken Tortilla Soup

Confession: I had no idea how to make chicken tortilla soup. What I did know is that I loved working Wednesdays at The Cheesecake Factory because it was the day they featured this particularly delicious blend of chicken and spice. I could easily be found at work 20 minutes early, consuming a bowl of the liquid goodness with a smile on my face. Even as the heat of summer tried its best to sway me from my weekly habit.

Last week I found myself with stock in my fridge and visions of chickens, tortilla strips and brothy, spicy soup in my head. I threw these things together and hoped it would work. I did not disappoint myself.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts

1 cup salsa (use what you prefer, I have an obsession with medium pace)

4 cups cooked rice

5 tbsp butter, separated

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic

2 quarts chicken stock (If you don’t make your own, use low sodium stock)

1 can ro*tel (warning! if you can’t handle spicy, get the mild version)

1 (15 oz) can black beans

1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes

2 (4.5 oz) cans diced green chiles

4 tbsp flour

1/4 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper to taste

Toppings of choice: I prefer tortilla strips, avocado, cheese, sour cream, cilantro and lemon.

Directions:

  1. In a slow cooker, combine the chicken and salsa. Set to low and cover. Once thoroughly cooked, use a fork to shred the chicken. Set aside.
  2. In a large stockpot, saute the onion and garlic until translucent, approximately 5 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to a simmer and add beans, green chiles, tomatoes and ro*tel. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, uncovered.
  5. Using a colander, separate the stock from the contents in two separate bowls.
  6. *Melt the 3 tbsp of butter in the stockpot over medium high heat.
  7. *Add the flour and whisk. Once thickened, reduce heat to medium.
  8. Slowly ladle the stock, approximately one cup at a time, and whisk, allowing the roux to thicken the sauce. Continue adding stock and stirring until all of the stock is incorporated.
  9. Whisk in the heavy cream.
  10. Add the beans, tomatoes and chiles to the soup and simmer.
  11. I like to put the rice at the bottom of the bowl then add the chicken, soup, a squeeze of lemon, cheese, avocado, cilantro and a dollop of sour cream.

* If you prefer a thicker soup, increase the amount for the roux.  I prefer my soup less thick.

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