Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
2 whole chicken breasts, boneless and skinless*
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red chile pepper, seeded & sliced (or to taste)**
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced or chopped tomatoes, undrained
2 (10.5 ounce) cans chicken broth***
Additional water if needed
Juice of 2 freshly-squeezed limes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Fresh cilantro leaves
Shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
Corn tortillas chips
* The U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as food agencies in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, advises against washing poultry. Rinsing chicken will not remove or kill much bacteria, and the splashing of water around the sink can spread the bacteria found in raw chicken. Cooking poultry to 165 degrees Fahrenheit effectively destroys the most common culprits behind food-borne illness.
** I have substituted prepared salsa for the chile pepper.
*** Check out Chicken Stock - Basic Chicken Stock to learn how easy it is to make your own homemade chicken stock.
In a large pot over medium-low heat, poach chicken breast in enough water to cover the chicken breasts, approximately 20 minutes or until the juices run clear when cut with the tip of a knife. Once your chicken is finished poaching, remove from heat and cut into bite-sized pieces; set aside.
In a large soup pot (or cast-iron Dutch oven) over medium-high heat, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onion, red bell pepper, garlic, and chile pepper; saute approximately 4 to 5 minutes or until onions are transparent.
Add tomatoes, chicken broth, additional water if needed, and lime juice. Add cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Over low heat, let soup simmer approximately 20 minutes for flavors to blend. NOTE: Be sure the broth is very hot so that it will heat up the garnishes that are placed in the bowl.
To serve, place a small pile of the cut-up chicken pieces into each soup bowl. Ladle the soup over the chicken. Top each bowl of soup with cilantro, avocado, shredded cheese, tortilla chips, and sour cream. Enjoy!
Makes 6 to 8 servings.