Monday, December 13, 2010

Chicken Enchilada Soup with crunchy Tortilla Strips

I love making soup in the winter.  It's just so versatile, and easy.  There are only a couple of things that are easier than making this soup.

  1. Eating out. (not an option on the Holiday budget)
  2. Carry-out.  (but when you live in podunk, it's cold by the time you get home)
You will notice I did not mention delivery here!  We live in podunk.  No one delivers in podunk!

Back to the soup.  This soup is quick to fix, and can be made as spicy or mild as you like, with ingredients that I usually have on hand and can be a great way to use leftover chicken.  The real key to this soup, in my opinion, is the crunchy tortilla strips.  They kind of give it that restaurant quality, without the bill at the end.

You will need for the soup:

1 tbsp oil
1 lb chicken breasts diced or about 2 cups of cooked chicken or 1 can diced chicken
1/2 cup diced onion
1 tbsp minced garlic
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup masa harina
3 cups water
1 cup enchilada sauce
16 oz velveeta
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin.

Add oil to a large stockpot and cook chicken breasts.  Skip this step if you are using cooked/leftover chicken or canned chicken.  Remove from pot and set aside.

Add oil to stockpot and cook onions and garlic until onions start to become translucent.  Then add chicken broth.  

Combine masa harina (this is in the mexican section of the grocery store, even in podunk) with the 3 cups water and whisk together very well.  Pour into stockpot and mix really well again.

Dice up the velveeta (or any brand processed cheese like velveeta) and add to the pot, stir until it gets all melted.

Then, add all remaining ingredients and simmer for about 30 minutes or until soup gets really thick.

This is where you may take liberties with this recipe. 
  • If you like it spicier, add 2 cups of enchilada sauce. 
  • If you like it really spicy, add some jalapeno peppers.
  • If you are like me and think bacon makes everything better, add some crumbled bacon.
  • If you like more/less cheese, add some more/less velveeta.
  • If you like more/less chicken, add more or less
  • If you have turkey instead of chicken, then add it instead.
I am sure you are more than capable of thinking of things here that I have not thought of.

And now the FUN part!  Let's make the Tortilla Strips! 

Take flour tortillas, any size will do (homemade or store bought, your choice) and cut in half.

Now, stack one side onto the other side, like so.

Pretend they are noodles, and cut into thin (1/4") strips.

Until you have a pile.  The size of your pile depends on the size of your family and how much they like these things.  For my family of 5 (3 teenagers) I cut up a whole package of store bought tortillas.

Heat up some oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Enough to compeletly cover the bottom is a good start, and put in a good handful of tortilla strips.  Not too many or they won't get crispy enough.

Cook about a minute and then flip them over.  Or flip most of them over.  Kind of stir them.  And when they are a golden brown, remove them from the skillet into a paper towel lined bowl or plate.

Sprinkle liberaly on your bowl of Chicken Tortilla soup and eat!  Yum!!

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