Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lisa's Chicken Tortilla Soup

Submitted by Michelle

5 years ago, when Celeste was in Kindergarten, I first began my tradition of Family Lunch. I stole the idea from my good friend Laurie who wanted a way to get parents involved at school in a non-threatening environment, particularly for those non-English speaking parents. Her idea worked wonderfully and I wanted to give it a go in my classroom, too. Each month I set the menu and the parents brought all the food and then shared the meal in the classroom with us. Our monthly potlucks overwhelmingly became the students and parents favorite activity.

Lisa, Celeste's mom, was always a HUGE supporter of family lunch. Not only did she cook for it, she would come early to help with set up and then stay late to clean up. During the month when the designated menu was soup and sandwiches Lisa brought her chicken tortilla soup. I loved it and have been making it ever since. It is tasty and so simple to make. I think you'll love it too.

The recipe is a little loosey-goosy in that you can adjust the measurements and the ingredients to your liking. I start by sauteing a sliced onion with some garlic in olive oil with a sprinkle of salt. You could chop the onion if you prefer, use less if you aren't a big onion fan, or even omit it if you don't like onion at all. See what I mean by loosey-goosey?
I've never done this before, but when I was making the tortilla soup this time around I thought a sprinkling of dried oregano might be nice, so I threw that in the pot too.
Once the onion is translucent I stir in 2 cans of Rotel and 1 can of diced green chilies.
I let that cook for a minute or two and then toss in my cooked chicken. I happened to have shredded chicken on hand but you could cube the chicken or used grilled chicken or buy a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store and use that. Again, loosey-goosey is the theme.
Once the chicken gets coated in the onion, tomato and green chili mixture, I add chicken stock. I had homemade but you could used boxed or canned or even water, though I think water wouldn't pack as much flavor. I know that Lisa poaches her chicken for this recipe and uses the poaching water for the soup.
I let everything come to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes or so and ta-da! Chicken Tortilla Soup! I serve mine atop of bed of tortilla strips and then garnish it with fresh cilantro and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese. But again, pepper jack might be nice or cotija or queso fresco or...well, you know, the possibilities are endless and it's totally up to you.

Lisa's Chicken Tortilla Soup
All measurement are approximations. Adjust according to your own taste buds.

1 medium yellow onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 tablespoons olive oil (for sauteing)
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 cans Rotel Mexican Lime and Cilantro Diced Tomatoes
1 can diced green chiles
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (though dark meat works well too)
8 cups chicken stock
tortilla strips

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