In the past when I’ve needed a quick soup, I’ve often turned to ramen noodles (subbing chicken broth for the flavoring packet and water). I’ve got a new favorite now, and it’s just about as simple. Tortilla soup makes a fun and healthy (if you don’t overdo the toppings) one-dish weeknight supper. I’ve made a large pot for good reason. Those leftovers make a wonderful instant lunch the next day.
To speed the cooking process, heat the broth in the microwave while the onions and garlic are cooking.
The chipotle peppers add flavor, heat, and smoke. They’re usually located in the Mexican section or Hispanic aisle of the grocery store.
- 1 pound (2 large) boneless chicken breasts, halved cross-wise to form two thin cutlets
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil, separated
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 large onion, cut into medium dice
- 4 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tablespoons canned chipotle peppers in adobo, minced
- 2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 can diced tomatoes (fire-roasted if you can find them)
- 2 cans black beans, not drained
- 6 ounces tortilla strips
- 1 lime, cut into 8ths
- Heat a Dutch oven or soup kettle over medium-high heat. Toss chicken with 11/2 teaspoons of the oil, salt, and chili powder to coat. Add chicken to hot pot; cook, turning only once, until impressively brown on both sides, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cut (or shred when cool enough to handle) into bite-size pieces.
- Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in the hot empty pot; add onions and saute until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and peppers; continue to saute until fragrant, about a minute longer. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, and black beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer partially covered and skimming foam as it surfaces, to blend flavors, about 5 minutes. Stir in chicken and turn off heat.
- Top soup with any or all of the following: grated pepper Jack cheese, diced avocados, light sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro, hot red pepper sauce.
Place a portion of tortilla strips in each bowl, ladle over hot soup, and top as desired, letting each person squirt in a little lime.