Chicken Tortilla Soup with Corn and Black Beans

Rely on your leftovers for this warming Chicken Tortilla Soup

Hearty Chicken and Black Bean Tortilla Soup

My inspiration for making soup is often a convergence of too many vegetables in the refrigerator combined with leftovers from a roast chicken dinner. This recipe is not an authentic tortilla soup, as I managed to empty most of the contents of my veggie drawer into it. It’s chock-a-block full of corn, beans, zucchini and peppers, simmered with a few must-have aromatics (onion and garlic) and pantry staples (canned Italian plum tomatoes and black beans). I spiced up the stock with warming southwestern spices in defiance of the dreary drizzle outside, and finished the soup with a shower of shattered tortilla chips, which happened to be leftover remnants in the bottom of their bag – too small for swiping through a bowl of salsa. Leftovers never tasted so good.

If you don’t have leftover chicken on hand, a store bought rotisserie chicken and packaged stock will do the trick. Season and spice the soup to your taste. Ideally it should have a little heat, but since our family is divided on what constitutes “spicy,” I pass a bottle of hot sauce around the table so everyone can fire up the soup to their taste. This soup is meant to be thick. More chicken stock may be added for a soupier consistency

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 poblano pepper, stemmed and seeded, diced
1 sweet red pepper, stemmed and seeded, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 cups chicken stock
1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes, with juice
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/8 teaspoon cloves
3/4 pound shredded cooked chicken
1 cup fresh corn kernels (or defrosted frozen)
1 cup cooked black beans
1 to 2 teaspoons brown sugar (optional)
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
Tortilla chips, broken in pieces, for garnish

1. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the peppers and sauté until crisp tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and zucchini and sauté briefly, about 1 minute.
2. Add the chicken stock, plum tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cayenne, and cloves. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.
3. Stir in the chicken, corn, and beans. Simmer, partially covered, until thoroughly heated through. Taste for seasoning. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons brown sugar if desired.
4. Stir in the cilantro leaves and serve warm, garnished with the tortilla chips.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

chicken tortilla

~ Chicken Tortilla Soup ~

This soup is all about leftovers. We roasted a whole chicken for dinner the other night, and ended up with a lot of meat. When this happens I’ll use the leftovers in a soup or stew, prepared with a homemade stock from the carcass.  The vegetables are inspired by the odds and ends in my vegetable drawer (fennel and carrots) matched with a few must-haves (onion and garlic) and pantry staples (canned Italian plum tomatoes and black beans). I spiced up the stock with warming southwestern spices in defiance of the dreary drizzle outside, and finished the soup with a shower of shattered tortilla chips, which happened to be leftover in the bottom of their bag – too small for swiping through a bowl of salsa.

Chicken Tortilla view

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Season and spice the soup to your taste. Ideally it should have a little heat, but since our family is divided on what constitutes “spicy”, I pass a bottle of hot sauce around the table so everyone can fire up the soup to their taste. Serves 4 to 6.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 large fennel bulb, fronds and bottom removed, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons pasilla chile powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 (28 ounce) can chopped Italian plum tomatoes with juice
3 cups chicken stock
3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

Tortilla chips
Diced avocado, optional
Hot sauce

Heat oil in a large pot. Add onion and sauté until softened, 2 minutes. Add carrots, fennel and garlic. Sauté 3 minutes. Add jalapeño, cumin, chile powder, paprika and coriander. Cook, stirring, until the spices are fragrant, 1 minute. Add tomatoes, stock, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and partially cover. Simmer 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add sugar if necessary. Stir in the chicken and black beans. Continue to cook until heated through. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with tortilla chips and avocado, if using. Pass the hot sauce.