Recipe: Chicken Tortilla Soup

chicken tortilla soup…so good I spilled it!

When I worked at the TV station I usually grabbed lunch at a coffee shop with some of the other reporters. One of our favorite meals was a chicken tortilla soup. It’s taken about six years, but I think I’ve finally found a good chicken tortilla recipe that comes close to the one I enjoyed so much in Idaho.

This recipe is inspired by one from Emeril Lagasse.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 4-6 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped small
  • 2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 1 lb chicken–whatever is leftover from a roast chicken the night before
  • 1 Tablespoon dried cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
  • 6 stale corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips (fresh is fine, too)
  • 1 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
  • 1 avocado peeled, seeded, and chopped, for garnish


In a Dutch oven or large heavy pot, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, peppers, salt, cumin, and coriander for 5 minutes. Add the diced tomatos and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cilantro and lime juice, and stir well. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

Heat the oil in a heavy pot or electric fryer to 350 degrees F. Add the tortilla strips in batches and fry until golden and crisp, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season with the Essence.

Ladle the soup into 4 or 6 serving bowls. Garnish each serving with the diced avocado, the fried tortilla strips.

Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning

  • 1 1/4 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 1/3 cup

Recipe from “New New Orleans Cooking”, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.



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