Chicken and Tortilla Soup


6 cups water

1-3 1/2 pound whole roasting chicken, cut in 8 pieces

1 large yellow onion, chopped (1 cup)

1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped (1/2 cup)

1 stalk celery, chopped (1/2 cup)

8 sprigs cilantro

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground ancho chile pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 bay leaves

Corn oil

8 corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch strips

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1-32 ounce box reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut in 1/4-inch slices

2 cups sugar snap peas, sliced diagonally

2 small zucchini, cut in 1/4-inch slices (2 cups)

1 cup chopped fresh or canned tomato

1/2 a jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded

Cilantro leaves


1.In a 6-quart Dutch oven combine water, chicken, onion, 1/2 cup chopped carrot, the celery, 8 cilantro sprigs, the cumin, chili powder, ancho chile pepper, oregano, and bay leaves. Bring to a boiling, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is very tender, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

2.Meanwhile, heat 1/2 inch of corn oil in a large heavy saucepan to 375 degrees F. Add tortilla strips, about one-fourth at a time, and cook until crispy and light golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from saucepan with a slotted spoon. Drain strips on paper towels. Season with salt.

3.Using tongs, remove chicken from liquid; cool chicken. Strain remaining liquid, and discard solids. Return to Dutch oven along with chicken broth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.

4.Remove meat from bones and discard bones. Tear chicken in 1-inch pieces. Add to broth along with the 2 sliced carrots. Simmer for 3 minutes. Add the sugar snap peas, zucchini, tomato, and jalapeno. Simmer 3 minutes or until tender. Taste and season with salt and black pepper.

5.ladle soup into bowls. Top with cheddar cheese, tortilla strips, and cilantro. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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