Chicken Tortilla Soup

in Dinner, Soups

I’m currently apartment searching. I know I’ve chosen an awesome time to start the hunt (read: during the most hectic time of year), but I like juggling forty-million things, all stressed out. It suits me.

I know we all hate moving. BUT it actually terrifies me. Why you ask? Oh…do I have a story. First: story. Then: soup.

Deal? Who are we kidding. I’m in charge here. STORY TIME!!

Three years ago when I moved into my current apartment I didn’t hire moving people. My (then) boyfriend and I just stuffed all my stuff in the back of a moving truck. I was doing the organized thing where I was packing stuff in boxes and bags as we were filling up the truck. (Remember when I told you I “wing” everything? Yeah…well, this includes moving, too.)

When it came time to pack my shoes, I realized I didn’t have a big enough box.

I quickly remembered that in the back of my closet lived this (fake!) Louis Vuitton duffle bag someone had given me.

It remained unused and unworn, mainly because I’d rather just wear some vintage, hippie bag than a fake; but it was roomy, so I proceeded to stuff it with pairs..and pairs..and more pairs of shoes.

I hauled it down to the truck and went back upstairs to gather more stuff.

Finally, when we were all done and moved in, I went to get dressed for a party and couldn’t find the bag.

The bag was nowhere to be found. Nowhere. I checked the truck. The car. The patio. Drove back to the old apartment. Checked the new apartment, again.

The bag…was totally gone.

I finally concluded that someone must’ve been watching the truck, saw the Louis, was too stupid to be able to tell it was a fake and scooped it out of the truck.

Devastating. For real. I had shoes with red soles in there, if you know what I mean. I had cheap shoes (that I loved!) in that bag. But mostly it was full of shoes that I made incredibly irresponsible financial choices on. They were important!!

People get their cars stolen. Or their TVs. Or their cameras. I, my friends, get my shoes stolen. These are my real life situations I find myself in.

Now do you understand why I’m traumatized with moving?!

P.S. This soup isn’t spicy. Don’t let that crazy pepper scare you. But it does have a ton of flavor. The melty cheese, crispy tortilla strips and avocado make the whole bowl like a gigantic hug from me to you.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Print this recipe!

1 large fresh pasilla chile
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (in juice)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2-3 corn tortillas, sliced into strips and halved
Salt to taste
1/2 cup frozen corn
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 avocado, diced
Handful of Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges

1. Quickly toast the chile by turning it an inch or two above an open flame for a few seconds until its aroma fill the kitchen. (Lacking an open flame, toast it in a dry pan over medium heat, pressing it flat for a few seconds, then flipping it over and pressing it again.)

2. Break the chile into pieces and put in a blender jar along with the tomatoes with their juice. (A food processor will work, though it won’t completely puree the chile.)

3. Heat the oil in a medium (3- to 4-quart) saucepan over medium-high. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 7 minutes. Scoop up the onion and garlic with a slotted spoon, pressing them against the side of the pan to leave behind as much oil as possible, and transfer to the blender. Process until smooth.

4. Raise the heat under the pan to medium-high. When quite hot, add the puree and stir nearly constantly, until thickened to the consistency of tomato paste, about 6 minutes. Add the broth. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and season with about a teaspoon of salt (amount depends on the saltiness of the broth).

5. While soup is simmering, pour three tablespoons of vegetable oil in a skillet. When oil is hot, add tortilla strips and fry until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel to drain and set aside.

5. Just before serving, add the shredded chicken and corn to the simmering broth. Ladle the soup into the bowls and top with cubed avocado, shredded cheese and tortilla strips.

Adapted from Rick Bayless

Serves 6

{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica December 14, 2011 at 7:34 am

Oh man! That last shot has me drooling!


Erin December 14, 2011 at 7:42 am

This looks nice and rich… Perfect for the snowy weather here in Utah. Thanks for sharing!


m @ random musings December 14, 2011 at 7:51 am

I move like you do (well, except the theft part). I’ve actually found that laundry baskets are surprisingly useful – just dump whatever’s in them out at the new place and reuse!


Adrianna December 15, 2011 at 12:56 am

Word. Good plan.


Lin December 14, 2011 at 8:44 am

I had shoes with red soles in there, if you know what I mean. that sentence broke my heart. (soup sounds too good)


Rachael December 14, 2011 at 11:32 am

That looks SO good! BTW I would be traumatized as well:(.


Katrina December 14, 2011 at 11:43 am

Lovely soup!


Blog is the New Black December 14, 2011 at 12:46 pm

A favorite of mine! I made this last year and I think I need a re-do!


Sue/the view from great island December 14, 2011 at 1:12 pm

What a sad story, moving is such a vulnerable time, I know so many people who’ve had similar experiences. If you look on the bright side, though, it gives you an excuse to go shoe shopping, and there should be some pretty nice deals coming up in January!
The soup look wonderful, I so want to roast a pepper that way but my stove is electric, and when I tried to do it in under the broiler I set off the fire alarms!


Jessica @ How Sweet December 14, 2011 at 1:43 pm

uhhhh i REALLY thought that you were going to tell me that the bag ended up popping up somewhere. you SERIOUSLY LOST YOUR SHOES WITH RED SOLES?? omgggg i would die. i wish i could teleport you a pair of louboutins right about now. and… and… how about you just quit moving and move in with me? that works.


Adrianna December 15, 2011 at 12:56 am

Oh how I wish!!!


michelle December 14, 2011 at 1:45 pm

I have one single pair of red soled shoes and I won’t let those babies out of my sight! I am so sorry for your loss :( Maybe this time, pack all your shoes in a crummy old box, that way no one will think of stealing them.


Hilliary @Happily Ever Healthy December 14, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Oh this looks delicious! I have a soft spot for chicken tortilla soup. I don’t know if it is the spice, the crunchy tortilla strips or the avocado I love so much!


sarah December 14, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Oh that’s one of saddest stories I’ve heard in a long time! An entire bag of shoes. That beats my missing juicer and fancy mop from my last move . . . by far.

This soup looks fantastic. Perfect warming and comforting meal!


DessertForTwo December 14, 2011 at 2:35 pm

My heart aches for your stolen shoes. I’m serious. So sorry girl. :(

On the other hand, chicken tortilla is my second favorite soup in the world. You’re right–it’s like a big aromatic hug.


Nicole Franzen December 14, 2011 at 3:02 pm

my favorite! I am drooling now :) want want want


Heather Michelle @ A Sweet Simple Life December 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm

yum. love this bowls and the recipe. hate that your shoes got stolen. :(


Emily December 14, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Yum! This looks delicious! I just posted a low sodium chicken tortilla soup recipe on my blog earlier this week ( Can’t wait to try your trick toasting the pepper to put in the soup when I make this recipe again. Thanks!


Bev Weidner December 14, 2011 at 3:18 pm

You’re like Carrie Bradshaw when her shoes get stolen at that BABY SHOWER. Remember?!

Seriously, that’s painful. And red soles…ouch. ouch ouch ouch.

Oh, and p.s. – this soup is massaging my soul.


Adrianna December 15, 2011 at 12:57 am

Yeah exactly. Or like when her she gets robbed at gun point for her shoes. Kinda like that. So sad.


Angharad December 14, 2011 at 4:09 pm

I cannot believe someone stole your shoes!!! I would die of heartbreak. Also, this soup looks immense.


Lindsay @ Schnoodle Soup December 14, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Awful. My soul hurts for you. I, too, have a similar story. My purse was stolen out of my car (I know – stupid me for leaving it there…thought it was “hidden” under the seat). I didn’t care about ANYTHING in there except my bag of lipsticks. I literally cried for a week over my lost makeup. That’s hundreds of dollars I spent spiffing up my pretty lips. I’m still replacing all the colors…over a year later.


Adrianna December 15, 2011 at 12:58 am

This happens a lot at airports going through security. They can throw out some expensive make-up goods. :(


Jillian@TheHumbleGourmet December 14, 2011 at 5:13 pm

I feel your pain. I, too, have a horribly traumatic moving story.
I moved from San Francisco to the East Bay (about 30 minutes away) the day after Thanksgiving. I woke up that morning at 3:00am with the most horrible case of stomach flu on the planet. We had friends helping us move, and I literally laid on the bare mattress until it was time to move it, then I laid in the moving van until it was time to go. I ended up, ahem, “getting sick” down the entire span of the Bay Bridge, out the window. To this day, my husband’s best friend loves to tell this story at super inappropriate times, like the dinner table. So I totally feel you with the horrible moving experiences!


Mary @ Bake Break December 14, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Not the red soled shoes!!! What a heartbreaker!

This soup looks delicious!


laura @ glutton for nourishment December 14, 2011 at 6:35 pm

i’ve never met a tortilla soup i didn’t love. this one looks fantastic!


Lauren @ FoodIsTherapy December 14, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Oh gosh that story makes me have anxiety FOR you. I know that panicked feeling all to well!! Good luck on the apartment search!

In the meantime, that soup looks divine! Perfect for chasing away the rainy-weather blues!


NicoleD December 14, 2011 at 6:49 pm

The heart of every girl reading this post is collectively breaking! Man! Wishing you much better luck this time around. This is the kind of soup that soothes the soul after a loss like that one :)


Adrianna December 15, 2011 at 12:58 am

HAHA! I know. Everyone understands.


modernworkinggirl December 14, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Ugh. Moving. Cue scratching up both your old apartment and shiny new one. Cue losing many socks and being left with useless singles. Cue a mandatory cleaning-extravaganza in BOTH PLACES!! Grr.

But you’ll be fine :) Good luck on the search!


crystal December 14, 2011 at 7:27 pm

honestly movers were the best investment i think i have ever made. not quite as high up as red soled shoes. but SO worth it. LA has plenty that are reasonably priced. do it, you will thank me later. and still have your shoes


Kath December 14, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Ahhhh! I had a similar thing happen to me, only a lot more trashy. I was packing up my last few clothes as we were filling up the moving truck. I grabbed the last bag I had available… a trash bag. It (obviously) didn’t occur to me that someone helping me would think it was trash. Yeah, they did. Bye, bye favorite clothes. Have fun at the dump. Never to be heard or seen from again. Tear.


Adrianna December 15, 2011 at 12:59 am

This is soooo depressing!


yummy supper December 14, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Not the red soled shoes! Say it isn’t so;)
Really…. good luck with the apartment search. Hopefully there won’t be any shoe casualties in this move.


Michelle December 14, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Pinning it! I don’t know why but I’ve never made Chicken Tortilla Soup and it looks super easy, but I always feel like I might mess it up. Gonna have to give your recipe a try! Thanks!


Teri Lyn Fister December 14, 2011 at 7:40 pm

This looks soooooooooooooo good. YUM!


cindy December 14, 2011 at 8:00 pm

oh, man. stolen/lost shoes would traumatize me too! once I went out wearing a pair of MK platforms my mom gifted me and after many drinks I came home w/o them…needless to say, I spent the weekend nursing a hangover and feeling mega guilty…only to find out Monday at work that I traded them with a co-worker. who does that?!

this soup looks so good and I bet it would be just the thing to ease the pain of fancy shoe loss.


Ruby Alexandra December 14, 2011 at 8:48 pm

I don’t really have any fancy shoes like that, but I know how gutting that would be.


Connie / Marinating Online December 14, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Very cozy indeed. I love the demonstrative pictures. My favorite soup.


nicole {sweet peony} December 14, 2011 at 10:09 pm

your red soles?!?!! i’m seriously sorry… i can’t even imagine what it would feel like to 1) own some red soles and 2) have them stolen!

i hate moving too… but we just moved a week ago. december must be moving time in l.a. i’m pretty sure we had the move unorganized move ever. lots of winging it. and since we have our old place until the end of the month, we’re still moving crap outta there (last box going tonight yay!). good luck with all the moving! i’d offer to help, but i really hate it 😉

anywho, this soup looks awesome. it is tied for my favorite soup everrrr.


New York Diaries December 14, 2011 at 10:11 pm

This looks SO yummy! I’ll definitely be making this over the weekend!


Erina December 15, 2011 at 1:40 am

I hate moving!!! My husband and I moved into a house about 5 years ago, and there are still some unopened boxes. I probably should toss them without opening them 😛 The soup looks so yummy…. I love the last shot!


Pooja December 15, 2011 at 4:55 am

We lost all my husband’s shoes in a very similar way last year when we were moving! But, that’s no where near as traumatic as losing yours, I sympathize! Thanks for the soup hugs. Would you swap anything for the chicken if you’re veggie, or just leave it out?


Adrianna December 15, 2011 at 6:01 am

I personally like tofu (if it’s seasoned). I bet some grilled tofu would be delicious. Maybe prior to grilling you could season the heck out of it with cumin, paprika, and a little cayenne. That cubed up might be pretty delicious!


Amanda December 15, 2011 at 7:08 am

Moving is the pits. I just did it myself. In the SNOW. Bleh.


Becki's Whole Life December 15, 2011 at 10:53 am

I’m so sorry about your shoes…that’s so sad. I think my husband threw out all of my hats and scarves this year (on accident) if that makes you feel any better. Same thing…some stuff I paid too much for and some cheaper stuff that I loved….so sad. That stinks for you with the shoes.

This soup looks the little bits of avocado and the strips of tortilla. Makes me want a bowl right now!


Tina December 15, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Can u come over and make me this soup! So sorry for your shoe loss. I really hate when I lose things but when done unintentionally yikessss!!! I feel it pain! ( Gluck w/ finding a place :)


Amy @ The Savvy Kitchen December 15, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Looks delicious! I can’t wait to try this! Also, visit me over at The Savvy Kitchen ( to enter my giveaway!


Biz December 15, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Ouch, that sucks about your shoes – I only have four pairs of shoes so that REALLY would have sucked if I got them all stolen!

I bought a rotisserie chicken because it was on sale for $2.99 – nevermind the fact that I know the rotisserie chickens are the chickens that are about to expire and can’t be sold. By itself it tastes kinda …pithy. I think this soup will wake up my chicken!

Thanks for the recipe. 😀 I plan on adding chipotle peppers because I loves the spice. 😀


Rachel December 16, 2011 at 5:01 am

I love chicken tortilla soup! I like to top it with cilantro and lime too!


Maureen December 16, 2011 at 4:22 pm

That SUCKS about the shoes! But this soup looks amazing! Thanks for the spice warning – I am such a wuss when it comes to spice!


Kasey December 19, 2011 at 3:02 am

I love soup and stories! I would be totally devastated if someone stole all of my shoes! Esp. because they thought they were really getting off with a fake Louis! But you know what? These are the things that make great stories…and in the end, the stories matter more than the shoes :) xo


Karen December 22, 2011 at 6:33 am

made this soup today and it was wonderful! i also topped it off with a dollop of sour cream. the resulting concoction was not too pleasing to look at, but the taste was incredible.

just a note though, for those who don’t frequently work with chili peppers– learn from my mistake and wear gloves before you try to break up the pepper!! silly me, i forgot that the pepper oil was on my fingers and proceeded to scratch my nose quite a bit, leading to me having to dab milk on my nose to cool the burning sensation :( lesson learned….although i have to say, the yummy soup was worth it!


Adrianna December 30, 2011 at 12:52 am

OH NO!! Yes, I’ve done this sooo many times. Milk always helps. Glad you loved the soup, though!! xo


Dana B @ thebakingbooth December 26, 2011 at 8:27 pm

I love a good tortilla soup; have to try it with the pasilla chile; I usually use chile powder. Sorry about your shoes :( Hope this move has gone much better and that you had a great Christmas!!


Nadette@Eat, Read, Rant! December 28, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Oh my Gah! Someone stole your shoes?? I think that’s possibly the worst case scenario of things that could be stolen from me (aside from my dog). I too would’ve been devastated and probably still traumatized three years later. I am soooo sorry. Now for the soup, I’m not a soup girl, but I want this soup and I want it spicy. Printing. recipe. now :). I had to move three months ago (while simultaenously shopping for a new (used) car–eek) and I’m telling you, throw money at some professional movers and be done with it, it will be some of the best money you ever spent!


Annie D August 13, 2013 at 12:53 pm


Hate moving. H-A-T-E moving.


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