Friday, March 8, 2013

Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Tortilla Soup

Yes, it’s March in Tennessee, and yes, we had “snow” (some combination of sleet and freezing rain) this past week. So there’s not much better than a steaming hot bowl of soup. My craving for chicken tortilla soup started with a bowl last month from Newk’s. I’d never had much of a taste for it before; something about the soggy tortilla parts in it was a texture issue for me. And how, as a native Texan, I have waited this long to make chicken tortilla soup is also a mystery to me.

The Pioneer Woman’s version is an okay start. Some jalapenos would have upped the ante a bit, and I could have added some more chili powder. Ancho would’ve contributed some nice smokiness. I used homemade stock that spent most of Sunday afternoon simmering away and needed more salt than I normally use. Per most of her recipes, this made a TON of soup, and unusually, it’s actually relatively healthy so I don’t feel bad about loading up a huge bowl. I topped mine with light cheese, Greek yogurt, cilantro, and some avocado.


Chicken Tortilla Soup
source: The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Yields 8 servings


  • 2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt (I used an equal amount of Penzey’s Southwest seasoning instead of the spice mix)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Diced Onion
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 10 Oz. Can Ro-tel Tomatoes And Green Chilies
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 2 cans (15 Oz. Can) Black Beans, Drained
  • 3 Tablespoons Cornmeal Or Masa
  • 5 whole Corn Tortillas, Cut Into Uniform Strips Around 2 To 3 Inches


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix.

Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Use two forks to shred chicken. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, red pepper, green pepper, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the rest of the spice mix. Stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir.

Pour in Ro-tel, chicken stock, tomato paste, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered.

Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Check seasonings, adding more if needed---add more chili powder if it needs more spice, and be sure not to undersalt. Five minutes before serving, gently stir in tortilla strips.

Ladle into bowls, then top as desired.