By Erin Walgamuth
Thank goodness for my cousin Mark! He saved my friend Lisa and I from having to drive from Santa Clarita to Huntington Beach the last
two days of our eleven day job! We stayed with him and his lovely girlfriend Cee, at his place in Newport Beach. Lisa and I were very grateful to have a fifteen minute drive to the job instead of three hours…lucky us!
Not only was it absolutely fabulous that we didn’t have to drive far, but Mark and Cee also made us some delicious meals as well, again, lucky us. The recipe below is Mark’s custom version of the classic Tortilla Soup. I had never really been a big fan of tortilla soup in the past, but this one changed my mind.
Now that the holidays are officially here, I thought you might like to make something simple and delicious amid all the rich foods and the mad rush of holiday shopping. This soup is a bit spicy as one of the ingredients called for is canned fire roasted tomatoes, which include jalapeno. But, my daughter, who as I have said in the past is a spice wimp, ate two bowls of soup with nary a complaint! If you would prefer to regulate the heat factor yourself, use chopped canned tomatoes as an alternative and your own spice mix. Enjoy!
Prep-time is about 25 minutes-ish
Cook time for soup is about 35 minutes
Cook time for grilled chicken is about 8-10 minutes
Makes approximately 13 cups of soup
You will need-
13x9 glass baking dish to marinate chicken
12” inch sauté pan
6-8 quart soup pot
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium yellow onions coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 -15 ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes (I bought mine at Trader Joe’s)
½ teaspoon ground cumin
8 cups chicken broth
Topping suggestions-Crumbled Queso Fresco, shredded cheese, avocado, tomato, jalapeno, red onion, sliced radishes, squeeze of fresh lime juice, chopped fresh cilantro leaves, crumbled tortilla chips.
Note- I used this simple marinade-Drizzled soy sauce and fresh lime juice over the thighs, and then sprinkled with garlic powder. You could add some cayenne or chili powder if you like. Of course you can use purchased marinade as well.
Place chicken in baking dish and brush with marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours before grilling. I usually turn the chicken over at least once to evenly marinate it.
Put vegetable oil in sauté pan and turn heat to medium or medium-low. Add onions, stir to combine. Add two generous pinches of sea salt, stir to combine. Cook onions stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes, or until onions start to soften and turn slightly golden in color. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Cook for another two minutes, stirring often. Add the chopped cilantro and cumin, stir to
combine. Add the tomatoes, stir to combine. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust salt if necessary.
Put ½ tablespoon of vegetable oil in soup pot and turn heat to low. Puree onion and tomato mixture in blender in batches and add to the soup pot, stir to combine. Stir in chicken broth and combine well. Taste and adjust salt if necessary. Heat the soup on low while you grill the chicken.
Slice grilled chicken into strips or chop into bite size pieces. Pour soup into bowls, top with grilled chicken. Sprinkle your choice of toppings over the chicken and serve.