Loaded Tortilla Soup ~ Minus the Tortilla…

So remember when I said the wind would start blowing from the North at any moment now? Well, I was right! It’s been below freezing the last couple nights and the days have been gorgeous – crisp and cool and so refreshing!

We joke around about how one must grow gills to breath in the South because it gets so humid in the summer you can cut the air with a knife. Needless to say, one starts feeling rather fishy with gills. Every autumn I feel like I’m coming back to life – morphing into the nose breathing human I was the spring before. Yay! Hello world! I’m alive again!

And AND, get this! It’s soup season!

Tortilla Soup has been a long time favorite of ours. Well, that is, this recipe for Tortilla Soup has been a long time favorite. I’ve never tried another version that beats it.

So my friends, today, on this deliciously chilly evening, I share it with you. I hope you love it as much as we do!

To start off, I give you a very unappetizing picture of a whole chicken, which is the base for our soup. Yep, that’s right, just throw a whole chicken (frozen or thawed) into a pot, add some salt, a couple bay leaves and a dried chile pepper, if you have one on hand, and simmer away for a few hours until the chicken falls off the bones.

Strain the broth and pour back into pot.

Remove meat from bones, shred or chop into pieces and reserve for later on in the recipe.

Chop one onion, mince some garlic and add to broth along with the spices and a 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes.

Give it a stir.

Now, here’s where things get weird, but I’ll explain, so you understand why I do what I do. (And no, it’s not because of the gills, or lack thereof! :)

Toss a handful of organic cornmeal into the broth. Go ahead, do it!

Tortilla soup recipes call for corn tortillas, right? And they get all soggy and unrecognizable and turn to mush, right? And if you’re avoiding GMOs (to avoid becoming ill) and buying organic corn tortillas that are expensive, why on earth would you want to waste good tortillas in soup if you can use cheaper organic cornmeal instead?

So there ya go! Makes all the sense in the whole wide world. Aren’t you proud of yourself for being so thrifty?

Bring the soup to a low simmer and cook covered for an hour or two.

The recipe we use calls for straining the solids out of the soup and throwing them away, but I blend it all up in the blender and return it to the broth. It makes a thicker and more hearty base.

Saute reserved chicken in a little olive oil and season with salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin.

Cut some of those organic corn tortillas into thin strips, toss in olive oil and fry in a skillet with a little salt and pepper until they start getting crunchy.

Shred some cheese.

Chop some cilantro.

Cube some avocado.

Cut a lime in wedges.

Open a carton of sour cream.

It’s time to dig in!

Pile everything into a bowl…

Ladle the hot broth over the top…

…and enjoy!

Here are the details for you –

Tortilla Soup

1 whole chicken

water to cover chicken

2 bay leaves

2 t. salt

1 onion, diced

1, 28oz can diced tomatoes

1 T. cumin

2 T. chili powder

1/4 c. cornmeal

more salt and pepper to taste

Garnishes –

  • chicken
  • avocado
  • corn tortilla strips
  • shredded cheese
  • sour cream
  • cilantro
  • limes
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18 thoughts on “Loaded Tortilla Soup ~ Minus the Tortilla…

    • You know, you got me looking at more tortilla soup recipes and I discovered ours might be the unusual one! I always assumed it called for tortillas in the soup base in order to justify the name Tortilla Soup. After all, who names a recipe after a garnish? :D
      Thanks for your comment!

  1. This looks like something my family would LOVE. Definitely going to have to try this once the cold weather comes back! :) We had an extremely frigid weekend her in Texas too but it is suppose to be back up in the 80s by tomorrow. That’s the south for ya! :)

    • Yeah, totally! We’ve been having gorgeous weather the last few days. Trying to relish every bit of it! :D Let me know what you think of the soup if you try it!

    • Thanks Mandy! I miss you, too. Very much. I bet the fall colors are amazing up there right now. Ours are just beginning to peak and they are pretty nice for around here. :D Hope you’re having a gorgeous November!

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