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Chicken Tortilla Soup

My dear friend Shana’s sister Amy inspired this post.  Amy Arkawy is a talented author and award winning playwright.  Last year she released volume 1 in her new series the Eliza Gordon Mysteries entitled, “Killing Time: An Eliza Gordon Mystery” and volume 2 Dead Silent was just released a few weeks ago.  Both are fun, refreshing reads perfect for the summer.  So? you are wondering how these mysteries inspired me making soup in 90 degree weather? The main character Eliza owns the town’s favorite lunch spot the Soup Opera and “At Soup Opera they say it’s never too hot for soup!” Each book has two recipes at the end! Arkawy is working on her next book in the series, “Book Secrets” and was looking for a tortilla soup recipe. I promised it to her.

There are a lot of ingredients in this soup, but it is a fast and easy soup to make, and it pairs well with Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos for a light dinner.  This recipe can easily be made vegetarian by swapping out the chicken stock with vegetable stock and leaving out the chicken!


  • 2 ears of fresh corn
  • 1 ear of grilled corn
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 small jalapeño or pablano pepper, seeded, veined and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons corn oil
  • 3 (6-inch) corn tortillas each cut into 10 pieces
  • 1 pound of tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients for Garnish

  • 6 (6-inch) Corn tortillas
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1  cup of roasted chicken skinned and shredded
  • ½ cup Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Directions for Soup

  1. Using a knife scrape the kernels off the fresh corn cobs and set aside, reserve the cobs.
  2. Add garlic, onion, pepper, and fresh corn to food processor and coarsely chop.
  3. In a large stockpot heat the corn oil and add the 3 tortillas that you cut into pieces.
  4. Cook until they are light brown and crisp.
  5. Stir in chopped vegetables and cook until soft.
  6. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, paprika and cumin and simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Add the chicken stock and the corn cobs, stir and cook over low heat for 15 minutes.
  8. Remove the cobs and purée the soup in batches in a blender.
  9. Return to pot and season with salt and pepper.

Directions for Garnish

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350
  2. Cut the tortillas in to thin strips and arrange on a cookie sheet (you may need 2)
  3. Bake 10 to 15 minutes until the strips are lightly browned and crispy.
  4. Peel and dice avocado
  5. Scrape kernels of grilled corn off cob

To Serve:

  1. Divide equal amounts of shredded chicken into 4 bowls
  2. Ladle soup into bowls and top off with avocado, cheese, cilantro, corn and tortilla strips
  3. Enjoy and go and get the books “Killing Time: An Eliza Gordon Mystery” and  Dead Silent