Chicken Tortilla Soup, AKA Best Soup Ever

20130830-182326.jpgWe’ve been eating Chicken Tortilla Soup for years. It’s a Sandwell Family classic. My wife started making it for me years ago when we got married, and we’ve made it probably two or three times a month ever since.

The basics of this dish are pretty simple, but you can go in a lot of different directions. This is actually the recipe that we began with that became a lot of other soups and chilis and stews we now make. I’ve given you the equation before. Broth, Veg, Protein. For Chicken Tortilla Soup that means chicken broth, onions and peppers, and chicken.

Tonight, I used,

two cans of rotel
one heirloom tomato
one red bell pepper
one red onion
two jalapeno peppers
three pepperoncini peppers
three tablespoons of salsa
three tablespoons of chopped cilantro
one teaspoon of minced garlic
two tablespoons lemon juice
one tablespoon tarragon vinegar
one tablespoon pomegranate vinegar
one breast of a rotisserie chicken
one box of chicken broth
salt/pepper/cayenne

There are a lot of different tweaks you can put on this dish. Normally I’d like to put green bell pepper in it as well to add a little variation and color. I’d rather use lime juice than lemon juice, and I don’t always use the same vinegars, but I like to have a little acid in the soup to balance the other flavors. But it’s all just shades of difference on the original dish. Broth. Veg. Protein.

Back when we used to eat the Standard American Diet we would have dressed this dish with cheese and sour cream and croutons. And wasn’t that delicious. But now we dress it with a little chopped green onion or a sprig of fresh cilantro and it’s still delicious, only it won’t make our legs rot off. Which is kind of awesome if you think about it.

I made this in the crockpot. With a slow cooker bag, of course. You can make it on the stove top if you’re in a hurry. Prepping all that veg may seem like a bit of a hassle, but you get the hang of it pretty quick. I buy vinyl food service gloves at the grocery store in boxes of a hundred for like a nickle a glove. It makes all the prep super easy because my hands stay clean. Everything gets as fine a dice as you feel like putting on it and goes in the pot. Heat ’til hot than eat like crazy.

This whole pot of soup is only like 700 calories, so you can go as crazy as you want and still feel fine about your dinner. If you want to stretch it a little you can add some water to the broth, or just more broth. If you are feeling lazy or just don’t have the time you can use frozen veg instead of fresh. It won’t be quite as good, but it’s still pretty darn good. And it cooks up just fine in the pot. If you use raw chicken, brown it in a pan first. But if you use rotisserie chicken everything is ready to eat and all you have to do is heat it up.

These recipes aren’t hard to cook. They aren’t expensive. They don’t take a lot of time. They’re easy, and they taste great, and you feel like a superhero after eating them. This is food that fuels your body. It makes you strong. You can make this at night and throw it in the pot the next morning before work and come home to a house that smells fantastic. You can make it after work and heat it up on the stove in twenty minutes. You can make it tonight and have it for lunch tomorrow. You can do this. We do it all the time. Husbands, imagine how your wives will react to coming home to find that YOU have made dinner tonight. Wives, imagine how your husbands will feel when they can relax after a long day at work with a hot bowl of chicken soup. This is comfort food. This is medicine.

This is the best soup ever.

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