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Tortilla Soup

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© 2012 Helana Brigman
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In the wake of New Years resolutions–to lose weight, to eat right, or to save more money–I find that soup motivates me to achieve any of my targets this season.  

Or, at least, warm my belly while preparing my body for some serious resolutions.

Today, I present readers with one of my all time favorite soup recipes: Tortilla Soup flavored with the spices of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine and the healthy (albeit filling) ingredients for a New Years resolution.  Traditionally prepared in their more popular chimichanga American formats, Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes don’t always need to be heavy.

As much as I love thick bean burritos dressed in cheese or sour cream, I recognize that the Mexican cuisine perhaps offers some of the easiest ways to keep cooking healthy with its emphasis on corn, beans, and other fresh ingredients.Since the staples of Mexican cooking are corn and beans, Tortilla Soup uses such popular ingredients in a format that’s equal parts hardy and light.  Corn chips garnish a robust broth where black beans, corn, and smoked turkey pack the broth with natural flavors.

As for garnishes that are part guilty and part fresh, any combination of ripe avocado, cilantro, cheese, or sour cream dress the soup wonderfully as well.

This past Saturday, I ran in the annual Louisiana Marathon and Cypress Challenge 5-K with my good friend Ellen (of this cake and this cake).  Although preparing for race day was paramount, eating delicious Tortilla Soup that’s as good for you as it is good made getting ready for the race just a little bit easier….

Left: Me with my medal of honor at 33 minutes! Right: Ellen with her medal at 40 minutes!

After a few days of warming my winter body with Tortilla Soup, 3.15 miles was just the right distance for me or anyone looking to get into racing this year.  Pair the post-race experience with a Tortilla Soup filled with every ingredient from your favorite burrito and crispy restaurant-style tortillas, and perhaps even you can start on those resolutions with a little race.

Tortilla Soup

This variation of Tortilla Soup includes smoked turkey as an easy way to improvise on a Mexican classic.  Don’t have smoked turkey? Pull the meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken for a similar effect.


*1 onion, chopped fine

*2 large or 3 small red peppers, chopped fine

*2 Anaheim peppers, seeded and chopped fine

*5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

*4 tablespoons olive oil

*8 cups chicken or vegetable broth

*2 (15.5 oz) cans whole tomatoes

*1 (15.5 oz) can corn

*1 (15.5 oz) can black beans

*2 teaspoons cumin

*1 teaspoon chili powder

*Salt and pepper, to taste

*1 1/2 lbs smoked turkey or chicken

To Garnish:

*cilantro, lime wedges, avocado, tortilla chips, pepper jack cheese, and sour cream

1.) Prep ingredients: chop onion, peppers, and mince or press garlic.  Add onions and peppers to oversized cast iron pot and cook over medium-high heat until tender in 4 tablespoons olive oil (about 6 minutes).

2.) Add garlic to pot and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).  Add broth, tomatoes, corn, black beans, cumin, chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix to combine, cover, and bring to a boil.  Stir soup and crush plum tomatoes with spoon or fork.  Cover and reduce soup to simmer for 15 minutes.

3.) Add pre-cooked (smoked) turkey to pot and cook for 5 minutes simmering until meat is heated all the way through.  Taste soup and adjust spices as necessary.

4.) Serve soup with fresh avocado, lime wedges, cilantro, pepper jack cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips. Enjoy!Makes 8 servings.
Tortilla soup

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Tortilla Soup, 4.5 out of 5 based on 4 ratings
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  1. Beverly
    Posted January 15, 2012 at 12:11 am | #

    Wonderful recipe!!! looking forward to many more.

  2. Expedition Eat
    Posted January 16, 2012 at 12:46 pm | #

    Great recipe on such a cold day – think I’ll make it tonight with some shredded pork I have on hand instead of chicken or turkey. That’s what I love about soup, anything goes!

  3. Posted January 18, 2012 at 9:08 am | #

    This recipe sounds great. Is there a way to print it without any “excess” information? Also, what size cans tomatoes, corn etc?

  4. Posted January 24, 2012 at 7:34 pm | #

    Hi T-
    My webmaster is working on supplying a print feature with all of the recipes, so I hope to have this for you soon! As for can sizes, use 15.5-ounce cans (or larger if you prefer). Let me know how the recipe turns out!

  5. Inna
    Posted January 25, 2012 at 8:42 am | #

    This looks yummy! Can’t wait to try it. Thank you!!!

    T Green, To print without excess, I hightlighted just the recipe, click print and under Page Range, choose Selection. Comes out very nice on one page.

  6. c martini
    Posted December 2, 2012 at 7:12 pm | #

    I saw this recipe on pinterest and made it the other night. It was a hit my whole fam loved it. My husband took the left overs to work and shared. They all want the recipe now. Thanks again its delish!

  7. Posted December 11, 2012 at 6:17 pm | #

    Thanks C Martini! I just love hearing that people are enjoying this soup–it really is the best. In fact, I think you just inspired me to make it again! Happy holidays!

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