Chicken Tortilla Soup

Whenever I roast a chicken I imagine my grandmother standing over her oven. She was an incredible cook. She always wore an apron over her house dress and changed right before my grandfather came home from work. Their house always smelled nice, the kind of nice that comes from something very special. Leftovers were always a lunch time treat. She made the best chicken salad and soups. She's gone now but we still reminisce about her and her great cooking. We realized at one point that none of her recipes were written down. She kept them all in her head. I wish I had paid more attention. I do realize now that what she did give me was the confidence to be passionate and innovative in my own kitchen.

This soup was made the next day with the left over roasted chicken and my house smelled pretty special too.


For Soup:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion (diced)
1 celery stalk (thinly sliced)
1-2 jalapenos, (finely diced)
1/2 red bell pepper (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon tomato paste
6 cups chicken broth
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15 ounce can black beans (drained and rinsed)
Cooked chicken (shredded or diced)
1/2 lime juiced

For Garnish (suggestions):

Sour cream
Diced red onion
Grated monterey jack cheese
Tortilla chips (crumbled)

To prepare:

In a large soup pot, add olive oil and onions, cook about 10 minutes. Add celery, jalapenos, bell pepper and salt, cook until soft (about another 10 minutes). Add garlic, cumin and chili powder and tomato paste and stir another minute or two until fragrant. Add chicken broth, tomatoes and black beans. Cook another 25 minutes or so until ingredients have melded well together. Add cooked chicken and cilantro. Cook another 5 to 10 minutes. Add lime juice. Taste and season with more salt if necessary.

To serve:

Top with garnish of your choice.

Note: You could always add a little more chili powder, it's really a matter of personal preference. I like my soup more on the mild side.           


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