Sunday, January 20, 2008

a recipe, sort of: tortilla soup

There is a hotdog stand within walking distance of my new job that sells the most fantastic tortilla soup, but it's not there every day and you don't know when it will be on the menu. I have had weeks where I got lucky and had the soup three days in a row for lunch. It's cheesy and delicious and warm. I could happily eat it every day if not for the suspicion that it's a little high in calories and fat, with all the cheese and tortilla strips.

I made my own version tonight and it turned out pretty good. I could probably have gotten closer to the original had I used about half a cup of grated cheese in it instead of a couple of tablespoons. Somehow their cheese melts perfectly into the broth and makes it really creamy and amazing. Mine just sort of disappeared in the bowl.

I'm not good at measuring, but I'll tell you what I put in the pot and you can experiment on your own if you'd like. It was very warm and satisfying. I used a four-cup box of organic, free-range chicken broth, but you could start with your own broth or stock if you're feeling ambitious.

To the broth, I added:
  • 1 diced leftover cooked chicken breast
  • 1 diced tomato
  • 1 sliced scallion
  • chili puree with garlic (just about 1/4 tsp., because it's very hot)
  • 1/2 a roasted red pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • garlic powder
  • cumin
  • smoked paprika
  • pepper
  • red pepper flake
  • a couple of heavy pinches of salt
  • a little fresh thyme, since I had some around
I brought this all to a boil and then simmered it for about an hour. When I dished out the soup, I grated sharp cheddar cheese on top and tossed in a few broken-up tortilla chips. We got three big bowls out of this, but you could do four servings of about one cup if you were careful.

It was good, but I still am thinking of checking to see if the stand has tortilla soup tomorrow.


  1. If you figure out a good cheese combination for soup - please let me know. I have several recipes like this that a friend makes - they were wonderful until I discovered that they were velvetta (sp?) or cheese wiz based. She was not concerned about this but shared that this was the only type of cheese that "held up" in soups. I tried several combinations of real cheese and never could get anything to work. I have never had much luck with soy based things - you might have had more experience with them than I have - and think of a good substitute.

  2. I’ve tried tortilla soup, but it wasn’t “cheesy” and I didn’t care for it. Personally if “cheesy” is what I liked about a soup, I would add more cheese. Wonder if adding some low-fat milk would help and be less fattening.

  3. Yummy! Sounds perfect for a cold winter day and I love that you have soup nearby your work - or hot dogs if you're in the mood for that. I could use some good warm tortilla soup and may try this soon.


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07