Friday, October 28, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup

My favorite soup in the world is my very own chicken tortilla soup.  You could say I'm "famous" for it.  I have made this recipe a million different ways until I created the perfect soup.  It's full of veggies, huge chunks of chicken and a rich spicy broth!  Of course, going grain, sugar, and dairy free meant that I couldn't toast my favorite tortilla strips and throw them in or top it with a big handful of Mexican cheese, so I ate mine plain.  I can assure you it was still delicious.  You could also top it off with some diced avocado if you have any on hand.  If you don't feel like taking the time to saute the onion and brown the chicken, throw all the ingredients in a crock pot and cook on low for 5 hours (or high for 3 hours).  I hope you love this as much as my husband and I do.

Warm, gently spicy, and completely comforting!
Ingredients (serves 4):
1tbs avocado oil
1 sweet yellow onion, diced
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-2" chunks
2 bell peppers, chopped (alternatively use frozen sliced bell peppers from Trader Joes:  the whole package)
1tbs minced garlic
1-2tsp cumin (I usually start with one and taste my soup as it's simmering and add more if needed.  I always end up using more)
1tbs chili powder (again, taste at the end and add more if needed)
about 3c chicken stock or enough to cover the soup (make sure it's gluten and msg free:  I use Racheal Ray brand)
2 bay leaves
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes with the juice (Muir Glen is best)

For serving:
a very large handful of chopped cilantro
Lime wedges (optional)
Diced avocado (optional)

For my non-paleo but still gluten-free friends:
baked tortilla strips (recipe to follow)
1c shredded mexican cheese

1. Add some oil in a large stock pot.  Add your chicken and cook (medium-high) until browned on both sides.  Remove.
2. Add a bit more oil if needed and add your garlic and onion.  Saute until onion is translucent and brown, scraping up as much of the brown bits of chicken as you can (that's where the flavor's at!).  Add your bell peppers and cook a bit more or just enough to get the peppers coated and starting to cook.
3. Stir in spices, chicken broth, diced tomatoes and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer (lid on) at least 20 minutes to let the flavors blend together.  Make sure you taste your soup at this point and adjust the seasonings as needed.  I often add some garlic powder and extra chili powder or cumin.  Sometimes I add salt as well.
4. To serve, ladle some soup in a bowl.  Top with cheese and tortilla strips (if using, recipe to follow).  Then top with cilantro and avocado.  Serve with a lime wedge.

To make tortilla strips:
1. Preheat your oven to 375-400F.  Take a few of your favorite corn tortillas (gluten free) and cut them in half.  Then cut them into strips about 1/2" wide.  Place them on a greased baking sheet and spray olive oil spray on top (alternatively, take a bowl of olive oil and brush the tops with a pastry brush).  Sprinkle a good amount of sea salt on top and bake until starting to turn golden brown.  Flip and cook 1 or 2 minutes more.  (I check mine every 5 minutes until they are starting to crisp and then every minute after that because these babies are easy to burn!).  SOOOO delicious!

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