Chicken tortilla soup

There are few things that sound better to me when it’s cold outside or when you are sick than soup. This past weeks weather in Seattle was actually amazing – but I was a tad under the weather and nothing sounded better than a slightly spicy tortilla soup. I’ve used many recipes for tortilla soup, but by favorite by far is one from Rick Bayless. It’s a very simple recipe that doesn’t take a ton of time to prepare – but the flavors of the chile  and lime really shine in this slightly spicy and tangy soup. I’ve adapted the recipe slightly (mainly just added some black beans and roasted corn) but it’s a very versatile soup that can be adjusted for any craving.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (adapted from Rick Bayless’ Mexican Everyday)

Ingredients:
1 large dried pasilla (negro) chile, stemmed and seeded
One 150z can fire roasted diced tomatoes (in juice)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 quarts chicken broth
Salt
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup rinsed canned black beans
1 cup fire roasted corn (you can find this in the frozen food section)
1 large avocado, pitted and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (monterey jack, colby or mild cheddar work well)
Sour cream
1 1/2 cups loosely packed cilantro
4 cups roughly broken tortilla chips
1 large lime cut into 6 wedges

Directions:
1. Toast the chile in a dry pan over medium heat, pressing down on the chile for a few seconds on each side. Break the chile into small pieces and place in a blender or food processor along with the tomatoes and their juice.
2. Heat the oil in a large (at least 4 quart) saucepan over medium high heat.
3. Add the onion and the garlic (you can mince the garlic if you want, but you don’t need to) and cook, stirring frequently until limp and golden (about  minutes)
4. Remove the onion and garlic from the pan with a slotted spoon. Add to the blender/food processor and process until smooth. (If you don’t have a big enough food processor, you can blend the tomatoes and chiles separate from the onions and garlic)
5. Return the saucepan to medium high heat. When hot, add the puree and stir nearly constantly until the sauce is thickened to the consistency of tomato paste.
6. Add the broth, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes.
7. Taste and season with salt (usually needs about 1 tsp)
8. Just before serving, add the chicken, black beans and corn to the simmering broth. Cook about 5 minutes.
9. Garnish as you wish!

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