Chicken Tortilla Soup

This soup is chocked full of "good for you" food yet tastes astonishing!
I have read a lot of tortilla soup recipes but had never made it until today.  It is a brisk 20 degrees this morning, clear, cold, and Brian is still coughing although his temperature has finally dropped below 100 degrees.  This warm spicy chicken soup sounds like a plan to me.

Chilies, cumin, chili powder, garlic, onions, and hot sauce all blend into a heavenly concoction.
Now it is mid afternoon and I am back on task!  I have been trying to get this part of the post written in but took Brian to the Dr. after making the soup and sitting it to simmer.  Boy does this house smell wonderful pulling into the garage from out in the cold air.  Such a welcoming and comforting thing to come home to something simmering on the stove!!  Here is what I have concocted.

Ingredients for Chicken Tortilla Soup, my way:

4 C. cooked chicken shredded and skin removed (I used leftover chicken)
2 T. olive oil + an additional 1 C. for frying the tortilla strips
1 heaping teaspoon of Cumin
1 rounded teaspoon of Chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt + additional for dusting the tortilla strips after frying
2 large diced onions (about 1 1/2 C.)
1 large or about 1C. red bell pepper
3 cloves of fresh garlic chopped
1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chilies
1 small can of diced green chilies
2 quarts of chicken stock
1/2 of a 6 ounce can of tomato paste (freeze the rest for later)
2 cans of vacuum packed Mexi-Corn
2 cans of black beans drained
2 diced carrots
3 T. cornmeal
2 T. fresh Cilantro chopped + more for garnish
Dash or two of your favorite hot sauce
5-6 whole corn tortillas cut into uniform strips  2-3" long

Garnish :

Fresh chopped Cilantro
Sour cream
Diced avocado
Diced red onion or green onion
Grated Monterrey Jack cheese or Mexican Blend Cheese

Shred chicken and set aside.  If you do not have cooked chicken season 2 or 3 large pieces (1 to 1 1/2 pounds) of fresh chicken ad roast at 375 degrees on a oiled sheet pan for about 25-30 minutes.  Cool, remove skin, and shred as previously explained.

Heat 2 T. oil in a soup kettle with a heavy bottom.  Saute the onions, red pepper, and garlic.  Add the Rotel, stock, and seasonings.  Stir well.  Mix in the chicken, corn, beans, diced carrots, and cornmeal stirring as you do.  Reduce to simmer and continue coking for 30-40 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

Add the cilantro and hot sauce and taste to adjust the seasoning if need be.  By now it smells so good it requires willpower to keep from pulling out a bowl and sampling.

Turn off the heat and let the soup sit for 10-15 minutes while you heat the additional oil in a shallow pan and fry the tortilla strips.  Drain on absorbent paper and lightly dust with salt.

Brian is not big on avocados.
This was my bowl, I like the works!
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the crisp tortilla strips.  Garnish as desired with chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream, avocado slices, and shredded cheese.  Oh my, this might be my new favorite soup!

Yield about 10 servings and I predict it just gets better the longer it sits.  Yummmm.

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