We've reached the early days of October. Despite being in the high 70s to low 80s in the last few days of September, as soon as October arrived the temperature obediently dropped to the 50s. I of course was delighted, as I have no tolerance for heat, and would rather spend all of my time in leggings and fuzzy socks and sweaters anyway.
I was also delighted because this means we've reached the season in which making soups and roasts and slow cooker meals no longer feels like I'm somehow committing a great wrong.
This chicken tortilla soup is perfect for this kind of weather, and it allowed me to take advantage of the last remaining ripe avocados I could find in the supermarket aisle. Although I eagerly fried tortilla strips for my first helping, I'll admit that I did not go to the effort when eating the leftovers. They do add quite a lot to the recipe, but the soup is also delicious without.
Chicken tortilla soup
Recipe adapted from Use Real Butter's chicken tortilla soup
- Glug olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 1/2 cups black beans (prepared from 1/2 cup dry beans, or 1 15-oz. can)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, cored, seeded, and minced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 28 oz. diced tomatoes
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 1 lb. chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 3 tbsp. lime juice
- Vegetable oil
- 4 corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch strips
- 1 cup Cotija cheese (or Monterey Jack), crumbled or shredded
- 1 ripe avocado, diced
Poach the chicken breasts by placing them in a medium saucepan and pouring in enough water to cover the chicken breasts by about an inch. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 10–14 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers 165˚ at the thickest part. Drain the water and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Sauté the onion, garlic, jalapeño and green peppers, cumin, and oregano for five minutes, or until the onions and peppers are soft.
Add the chicken stock, black beans, tomato paste, tomatoes, zucchini, shredded chicken, cilantro, and lime juice. Shred the chicken breasts (I find using two forks to pull the meat apart is the easiest) and add it as well. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The diced tomatoes I used contained added salt, so I found that no additional salt was needed.
Heat two inches of vegetable oil in a small saucepan until a small piece of tortilla bubbles quickly when added. Fry the tortilla strips until golden, then remove and drain them on a paper towel.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with tortilla strips, Cotija or Monterey Jack cheese, and avocado.