Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

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READY IN 2 hours
PREP TIME 1 hour
COOK TIME 1 hour

A family favorite, this chicken tortilla soup gets extra flavor from toasting and hand-grinding the spices. An array of garnishes make it fun to eat. If you don't eat the whole pot it freezes perfectly.


  • 1.5 oz whole cumin seed (about ¾ bottle)
  • .4 oz whole coriander seeds (about ½ bottle)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Cloves from 1 head of garlic, peeled
  • 3-4 jalapeño peppers, seeded
  • 3-4 yellow onions, peeled and cut in quarters
  • 12 plum tomatos, trimmed and cut in half
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 4 49-oz cans of chicken stock
  • 3-4 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 5 red and yellow roast bell peppers or 2 jars of roasted peppers drained and cut into ½-3/4
  • 8-10 small zucchini, washed and trimmed
  • 8 ears of corn, husked and kernels removed
  • .1 oz dried oregano ( about ¼ bottle)
  • Cooked rice (optional)
  • Diced avocado
  • Cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • Tortilla chips
  • Lots of lime wedge


  • 1Toast your cumin and coriander seeds in your soup pot for a few minutes, stirring frequently and taking care not to burn. Remove the seeds and grind in a molcajete, mortar or electric spice grinder.
  • 2Pulse garlic and jalapeño in food processor, using the basic chopping blade until finely chopped. Add onions and continue pulsing until coarsely chopped. Do not over-pulse or you will get onion juice.
  • 3Heat your soup pot, add a generous pour of olive oil to the bottom of the pan, heat and add garlic/jalapeño/onion mixture. Cook about 7 minutes on medium-high, stirring and taking care not to burn. Add crushed coriander and cumin seeds. Stir and cook another 3 minutes.
  • 4Put tomato halves in food processor and pulse briefly using the chopping blade. Add tomatoes and sea salt to onion mixture. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • 5Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add whole chicken thighs and turn down heat to medium-low. Cook about 15 minutes until chicken is cooked and tender. Do not overcook or chicken will be tough. Scoop chicken from pot and let cool in a bowl while you continue adding ingredients to the soup. Once cool, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  • 6Add zucchini and chopped roast peppers, simmer about 15 minutes, until the zucchini becomes tender. It will change from opaque to a little translucent. Add shredded chicken, corn kernels and oregano and cook another 5 minutes.
  • 7Ladle up soup and offer bowls of garnish -- diced avocado, cilantro, cheese, tortilla chips and lime wedges. Optional: add a scoop of rice to each blow before garnishing.