Storm Watch 2011: Chicken Tortilla Soup To The Rescue

Chicken Tortilla Soup
“Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow” is getting mixed reactions as 49 of the 50 states have seen snow this week. Some love the magical white fluff while others are going a little stir crazy being cooped up with restless, homebound children. We don’t know for certain if homemade soup soothes the savage beast of a cabin fever affected family, but we’re thinking Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond’s chicken tortilla soup sounds delish enough to be a contender. An alternative to classic chicken noodle, this warms our bellies and spirits with a little spicy heat as we wait for the thaw. Check out Ree’s website The Pioneer Woman for more photos plus her fun commentary and tips to simplify the recipe.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Drizzle olive oil on the skinless chicken breasts and sprinkle on some of the spice mixture. Throw the chicken into a preheated 375 degree oven, then cook the chicken breasts till they’re done—around twenty or twenty-five minutes.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
After cooking, shred the chicken with two forks then set the chicken aside while you get the soup ready.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Sautee the diced veggies with some olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in most of the remaining spice mix, holding back a bit until you’re sure the soup needs it. Stir around and cook for a minute or two. Continue adding shredded chicken, Rotel, chicken broth, tomato paste and beans as directed.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
About thirty minutes in, sprinkle some cornmeal into a little warm water. Stir to combine.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Then pour the weird mixture into the soup. As the soup continues to cook over the next thirty minutes or so, the cornmeal will give the soup a little heft, as well as a lovely hint of a corn flavor. You must trust Pioneer Woman!

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Slice the tortillas into strips, then cut the strips so that they’re all a uniform size.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Garnish and enjoy!

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: 8


  • ~ 2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • ~ 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • ~ 1-½ teaspoon Cumin
  • ~ 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • ~ ½ teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • ~ ½ teaspoons Salt
  • ~ 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • ~ 1 cup Diced Onion
  • ~ ¼ cups Diced Green Bell Pepper
  • ~ ¼ cups Red Bell Pepper
  • ~ 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • ~ 1 can Rotel Tomatoes And Green Chilies
  • ~ 32 ounces, fluid Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • ~ 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • ~ 4 cups Hot Water
  • ~ 2 cans Black Beans, Drained
  • ~ 3 Tablespoons Cornmeal Or Masa
  • ~ 5 whole Corn Tortillas, Cut Into Uniform Strips Around 2 To 3 Inches
  • Garnishes (optional):

  • ~ Sour Cream
  • ~ Diced Avocado
  • ~ Diced Red Onion
  • ~ Salsa Or Pico De Gallo
  • ~ Grated Monterey Jack Cheese
  • ~ Cilantro


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Note that you could easily just use some premade taco seasoning or your own combination of delicious spices (chipotle powder, for instance) to make the soup all your own. 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.

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 cumin if you need more of that deep, distinctive flavor, more chili power if you need more heat and be sure NOT to undersalt. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

As the soup is cooking, slice tortillas into strips and then cut all so they are a uniform size and prepare any garnishes. Five minutes before serving, gently stir tortilla strips into the soup.

Ladle into bowls, then top with sour cream, diced red onion, diced avocado, pico de gallo, and grated cheese, if you have it! (The garnishes really make the soup delicious.)

photos and recipe: © Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman


Melanie | Permalink |

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