Cooking and Recipes: Chicken tortilla soup

Benjamin Kraft, Blogger

Ugh, what’s with this cold snap? We had a few days of beautiful weather, and now back to clouds, rain and cold. Luckily, I found a delicious and hearty soup recipe to keep out the chill. With a quick trip to Whole Foods Market or Jewel-Osco and a few pots and pans, it’s easy to make scrumptious meals in your dorm or apartment. This week, I took over the kitchen in Allison Hall to make this cheap and easy recipe.

I’m a big fan of soups because they’re usually easy, cheap and really hit the spot on a cold or rainy day. This soup has lots of vegetables, beans, meat and even a little spicy kick to keep you on your toes — it is, in effect, just a wonderful recipe.

One quick note about this recipe: Yes, the serving size is eight, and that is huge. But what this translates to for those of us who don’t live with seven other people is many meals of perfectly reheatable leftovers. Soup, unlike most food, doesn’t get progressively worse as you wait to eat it. It doesn’t get soggy or mealy or even taste like the inside of a freezer (freezer burn is my personal archenemy). As long as you don’t add the cheese, tortillas or other toppings until you are eating each serving, this dish will be just as good on day two, three or four.

Serves 8 | Hands-on time: one hour | Total time: two hours and 30 minutes | Source: Food Network


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • One 10-ounce can diced tomatoes and green chiles, such as Rotel
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Two 15-ounce cans black beans, drained
  • 3 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 5 small corn tortillas
  • Optional toppings: cheese, cilantro, avocado, sour cream, onions


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Mix together the cumin, 1 teaspoon of the chili powder, the garlic powder and salt.
  3. Drizzle the chicken breasts with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the spice mixture. Set the rest of the spice mixture aside.
  4. Bake until the chicken is cooked all the way through, 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Remove it from the oven. Cut the chicken into cubes and set aside.
  6. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  7. Throw in the onions, green and red bell peppers, garlic and the rest of the spice mixture. Optional but recommended: Add 1/4 teaspoon extra chili powder for heat.
  8. Stir to cook the vegetables until they begin to turn golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  9. Add the cubed chicken and diced tomatoes, juice and all. Also add the chicken broth, hot water and tomato paste.
  10. Stir to combine, bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low.
  11. Add the drained black beans.
  12. Mix together the cornmeal with 1/2 cup water. Add the mixture to the pot and then simmer the soup for 10 to 15 minutes.
  13. Cut the tortillas into uniform 2- to 3-inch strips. Add one tortilla’s worth of strips to each bowl and then add any other toppings. I highly recommend cheese — I used the Mexican cheese blend.