We really love soups and even though we eat them more in the cooler months, we actually have them year round. Since the weather here has decided to turn cold and wet again, soup was on my mind. I sort of wanted chili, but not really. Then I thought about something with chicken, but spicy and I wanted creamy. That was when I remembered this version of tortilla soup. It's a little spicy, but not too spicy and it's a little more cheesy and creamy than other versions I have eaten. It's also easy and quick to get on the table. Here is all you need:
3-4 boneless chicken breasts, cut in bite size pieces
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 Tbs. garlic minced
1/2 red or green bell pepper, diced
1 pkg. taco mix
1 cup water
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (if you don't like too much heat, omit this)
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz.) can of tomato sauce
1 cup salsa
2 cups chicken broth
2 cans Mexican style corn
1 can black beans or ranch style beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup Velveeta cheese, cubed (can use cheddar cheese)
2 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded (can use plain Monterrey Jack)
For garnishes: tortilla chips, sour cream, more shredded cheese, sliced olives
In a soup pot or Dutch oven, sauté the chicken in the olive oil. Cook until the chicken is done and slightly browning. If there is too much liquid in your pot, drain some of that off as you sauté the chicken, because you will end up poaching it instead of browning it.
Just as the chicken is starting to brown, add the garlic, onions, and bell pepper and sauté them lightly. Sprinkle with the taco seasoning. Pour the cup of water in the hot pan and as you do this, deglaze the bottom of your pot by scraping up any bits that have stuck to the bottom. Be sure to get it all off the bottom and stir the taco mix with the water until it is well mixed and dissolved. This assures your soup won't stick as you add the other ingredients and cook it.
Add all of the other ingredients, except the cheeses. Bring this up to a boil, stirring several times to be sure it doesn't stick. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. Add the cheeses. Do not allow the soup to boil after the cheese is added. Stir often until the cheese has completely melted and incorporated with the broth of the soup. If you do not want as much spice, you can use plain Monterrey Jack cheese instead of the pepper jack cheese. Also, if you are one of those folks, and there are a few, that think Velveeta will cause you to fall over dead at the dinner table, you can use cheddar for the Velveeta. I will caution that the cheddar does not melt as well and become as creamy as the Velveeta does.
When I serve this soup, I like to put some tortilla chips in each bowl and ladle the soup over them and then garnish with whatever you like....more shredded cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream, salsa, green onion. Just put the garnishes out in bowls and let everyone garnish to their tastes.
Creamy Tortilla Soup!