Tortilla Soup

By Jennifer Segal

metrocurean contributor,

This recipe is based on the popular chicken tortilla soup served at Tommy Bahama Café in Lido Key, Fla. It’s a silky purée of vegetables, corn tortillas, chicken broth and spices with tender chunks of grilled chicken and a nest of tortilla matchsticks heaped over top. Enjoy!

Tortilla Soup
Inspired by Tommy Bahama Tropical Café

serves 6

For Soup
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced into quarters
1 green bell pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
5 small (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into small pieces (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 quarts (8 cups) low sodium chicken stock or broth (I like Swanson organic)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use less if you don't like heat)

Suggestions For Garnish
Crushed tortilla chips
Handful chopped fresh cilantro
2 cooked skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces*
1-2 avocados, chopped

Heat olive oil and butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and green pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and just starting to brown, about 15 minutes. (Turn heat to medium-low if mixture is browning too quickly.)

Add cut corn tortillas, chili powder and cumin; continue to cook, stirring occasionally, a few minutes more. Add chicken stock, salt and cayenne pepper and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer with lid slightly ajar for about 20 minutes. Off heat, use hand-held blender to puree until completely smooth (you can also do this in a blender in batches; just be careful to open the steam hole and cover with kitchen towel to avoid splatters). Stir in chicken if using, then ladle soup into bowls and garnish as you like.

Jennifer Segal is the founder and publisher of Once Upon a Chef, a cooking blog featuring easy and elegant recipes. Before launching her blog, Jennifer earned her culinary stripes working front and back of the house at some of DC's top fine dining restaurants, including L'Auberge Chez Francois, Sam & Harry's and The Caucus Room.

She has also done private catering and restaurant public relations. Jennifer is a graduate of the professional Culinary Arts Program at L'Academie de Cuisine.