Using the Whole Bird: Chicken Tortilla Soup (and more)

Amy's Chicken Tortilla Soup (photo from oh amy, dear!)

Amy’s Chicken Tortilla Soup (photo from Instagram and oh amy, dear!)

A couple days ago I was able to score a great deal on a whole chicken – $1.49/lb + 30% off on clearance, paying around $5.00. My husband had been wanting to learn how to butcher a chicken, and I’m always excited to discover new cooking skills, so away we went! After he cut it apart, we boiled the carcass and some miscellaneous pieces to make chicken stock, then baked all of the pieces. We were left with a selection of cooked chicken and a good amount of stock. We’ve used the chicken for sandwiches and meals with other leftovers, but the stock was what I wanted to get my hands on.

I happen to love chicken tortilla soup, so my decision on what soup to make was made. Until now, I had never made a soup, so I was a tad nervous about the flavor I would be able to get. Would it be too salty? Would it not have enough flavor? Putting those worries aside, I looked up a recipe on Pioneer Woman and revised it to how I wanted to make mine and set forth on my soup adventure!

Though we’re both biased, my husband and I LOVED this soup and can’t wait to eat it for another meal. Change the following steps to fit your needs, but I hope you find it helpful. It really was easier than I thought, and the taste is better than I’ve ever had.

Ingredients:

  • Around 1 lb chicken
  • 6 cups of chicken stock (can vary)
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 jalepeno peppers
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes & chiles
  • 5 small corn tortillas
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • Taco seasoning or cumin/garlic/chili powder
  • Olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Gather your seasoning or mix together your cumin, garlic, and chili powder.
  2. If your chicken is already cooked, shred it with forks and reheat on stove with seasoning mix.
  3. If your chicken isn’t cooked, season it with almost all of the mix and cook.
  4. Set the chicken aside.
  5. Dice up your onion, bell pepper, and jalepenos.
  6. In the same pan that you reheated the chicken (or in new pan if you cooked chicken separately), throw your diced vegetables in with some drizzled olive oil and the rest of your seasoning mix. Stir and sautee for a few minutes.
  7. While the vegetables are cooking, put your stock on the burner on medium low.
  8. After sauteeing the vegetables for a few minutes, add your chicken. Stir until incorporated.
  9. Add your can of Rotel, stir.
  10. Add the vegetable and chicken mix to your stock.
  11. Drain the two cans of black beans and the can of corn, add to the soup.
  12. Shred some cilantro and throw in with the soup.
  13. Bring the soup to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  14. While the soup is simmering, cut your tortillas into strips about 1/4 inch wide and 2-3 inches long. (I cut a bunch of 1/4 inch strips, then just cut the tortilla in half perpendicular to those strips and that got me the size I was looking for.)
  15. Toss the tortilla strips on to a baking pan and drizzle with a little olive oil, then bake for 5-10 minutes at 400.
  16. When the 30 minutes is up, taste your soup and season if needed.
  17. Turn off the burner and let the soup sit for an additional 15 minutes.
  18. While the soup is sitting, prepare your toppings. (I could have grabbed avocado and diced up more onion, but I ended up shredding some more cilantro, grabbing some shredded cheese, and placing a dollop of sour cream.)
  19. Ladle soup into bowls and add the tortilla strips. Stir to incorporate.
  20. Put toppings on your soup and enjoy!

How will you make your chicken tortilla soup? Would you choose different toppings, or do you have a favorite recipe of your own? Share in the comments!

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