Tortilla Soup


Tomorrow  is el Cinco de Mayo, the fifth of May. This day commemorates the victory of Mexican forces over the French army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.  It’s also a day on which we in the United States celebrate the heritage of our Mexican residents and neighbors.  

For many Mexicans this year the Cinco de Mayo holiday will be dimmed by worry about the flu epidemic. Chicken soup can’t cure colds and flu, of course, but any mother will tell you that the soup’s warmth comforts those who are sick. So let’s celebrate the ability of the Mexican people to rise above challenges—epidemiological or military—with a little chicken-based tortilla soup.


This soup comes in many different versions so feel free to change it to your taste. Some people like to put the tortilla pieces in the soup to cook for a while (to make a sort of chicken-noodle soup). If you have a fresh hot pepper, feel free to substitute it for the red pepper flakes in the recipe; I was sticking to ingredients I could purchase at my local general store so I didn’t have one on hand.


Tortilla Soup




canola oil as needed for frying

1 onion, coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

1 15-ounce can stewed tomatoes

1 4-ounce can green chiles

4 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)

1 tablespoon chili powder

salt to taste

red pepper flakes to taste (these provide spice)

3 to 3-1/2 cups corn kernels (at this time of year I use frozen)

4 corn tortillas

2 to 3 cups shredded cooked chicken

chopped cilantro to taste

grated cheese to taste (Monterey Jack or cheddar; the first melts better and the second has more flavor)

2 limes, cut into wedges




In a small frying pan, sauté the onion and garlic in a little oil until they brown. Pop them into the blender with the canned tomatoes and the green chiles. Blend well.


Add the tomato mixture to the chicken stock. Stir in the chili powder, salt, red pepper flakes, and corn. Bring the soup to a boil; then reduce the heat, almost cover the soup, and let it simmer until the flavors have blended (at least 1/2 hour).


While the soup is cooking, cut the tortillas into small strips. Let them sit on paper towels for at least 15 minutes to dry out; then fry them in oil until they are crispy. Set them aside to drain on the paper towels.


When the soup is almost ready, stir in the chicken and cilantro. Cook for a few minutes more, until the chicken is heated through.


Ladle the soup into bowls, and have your guests add tortilla strips, cheese, and lime juice from the wedges to taste. Serves 4 to 6.


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5 Responses to “Tortilla Soup”

  1. Libby says:

    You are just too funny with that photo. I forgot all abut Cinco de Mayo this year. Should have at least done a chili bread. I love Tortilla soup by the way. I used to have it a lot when I was in Texas. Good stuff! Take care, Libby.

  2. tinkyweisblat says:

    Chili bread sonds fabulous! Maybe next year?

  3. Chris says:

    This is the first I’ve seen corn kernels being included in tortilla soup.

  4. tinkyweisblat says:

    I looked at many different recipes and included the features I liked best. To me the corn gives extra substance to the soup and complements the flavor of the tortilla chips…….


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