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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup


1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
4 cups chicken stock
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 poblano pepper or green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
15 ounces can tomato puree
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 pound cooked chicken, cubed or pulled

Cheese sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup heavy cream, half and half or milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces cheese, grated (use your favorite or a mix of favorites)

Tortilla chips, crumbled (or if you can find them, tortilla strips)
Sour cream
Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (optional)


1. Make the soup: Heat oil and butter in a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté onions, celery and garlic until soft.

2. Add a splash of chicken stock, and then the red bell, poblano or green bell and jalapeno peppers. Cook for 2-3 minutes to soften.

3. Add all of the spices (salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, sugar, chili powder), and stir until fragrant.

4. Add the remaining chicken stock, tomato puree and Worchestershire sauce. Mix well and bring to boil.

5. Add chicken, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes (or more – the longer a soup simmers, the better!)

6. Make the cheese sauce: Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in flour to create a paste.

7. Slowly add the dairy, stirring constantly, until a thick, creamy sauce is formed. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Add grated cheese and stir to completely incorporate into the sauce.

8. Add cheese sauce to the soup, stirring to mix well. The soup should now be creamy, but not necessarily spoon-hugging thick.

9. To serve: ladle into bowls, then sprinkle on cilantro. Add a spoonful of sour cream and top with tortilla chips/strips.