Living in San Diego, I eat tacos for most meals. Most days at my company's corporate cafeteria are punctuated by Mexican-influenced meals. Salsa and guacamole are basically the only dips pre-made by our local grocery store. Essentially, I live in Mexico, and I'm soaking up all of the Mexican-American culture I can before all of my wonderful south-of-the-border friends are deported from my beloved San Diego, which owes so much of its charm to their presence, so here is some chicken tortilla soup. I took this picture a while ago the first time I made the soup, but now it is Jess's favorite, so I made it again this past weekend and it was devoured by all with great enthusiasm. We had the last of it last night in an effort to warm our hearts. Stomachs full and spirits rejuvenated, I didn't want to get out of bed today, for reasons that had nothing to do with soup.
Textures play a large role in this soup. Yes, the flavors are deeply savory from the chicken and fire roasted tomatoes, freshened up brightly by lime juice, balanced by the peppery floral notes of the cilantro. It's simple, but effective. But the true success of the soup owes itself to the crunch of the chips mingling with the tenderness of the chicken and the soft chewy bite of the beans and avocado.
Butter Count: 2 Tbsp
2 Tbsp butter
2 small zucchini, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 small jalapeno, chopped
1 large pinch kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
4 cups chicken stock
1 14.5 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 16 oz can black beans, drained
1 cooked rotisserie chicken, store bought
1 avocado, thinly sliced
8 lime wedges from a single lime
Cilantro for garnish
Tortilla chips, store bought
1. Remove the skin from the rotisserie chicken. Remove all of the meat and shred it by hand. Set the meat aside in a bowl.
2. Heat the butter in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add the zucchini, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, salt, and garlic. Cook until the onions and zucchini are cooked through, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the chili powder and cumin. Stir to incorporate thoroughly. Cook 1 minute. Add the stock, tomatoes, black beans, and chicken breast. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat all the way and bring the soup to a simmer for about 5 minutes.
4. When ready to serve, transfer the soup evenly into bowls, top with avocado slices and cilantro. Squeeze a lime wedge over each bowl and serve with an additional un-squeezed lime wedge fir people who like extra sourness.