One might assume that having grown up in Arizona, I would love both Mexican food and spicy food. Both of those assumptions would have made an… well, you know the saying. Until recently, that is. Something in the last year or so (perhaps pregnancy?) has altered my taste buds and I am so happy about it!
For the longest time, I couldn’t eat spicy foods because it gave me terrible reflux and indigestion. Then, I realized that the spiciness wasn’t the issue; the fat content was. I can eat spicy food without any negative side effects as long as the dish is low in fat content. Score! One my go to dishes to accomplish this new love of low-fat, spicy food is chicken tortilla soup.
Not to toot my own horn, but this soup is seriously delicious. Seriously. And, it is pretty darn easy. Try it. Let me know what you think!
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1 inch pieces and patted dry
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-4* jalapeños, diced and seeded
2 cans fire roasted tomatoes (or fresh!)
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
1-2 cans black beans, rinsed
2 quarts chicken broth
6-8 white or yellow corn tortillas
2 T olive oil
1 t kosher salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 T oregano
1 T lime juice
1/2 cup greek yogurt (or sour cream)
1 avocado, diced
salt and pepper to taste
optional: 1 t agave nectar or honey (to cut out a bit of the acidity)
optional: 1 lime, quartered or sliced thinly
In a large stockpot, over medium high heat, sauté onions, jalapeños, and garlic in 1 T olive oil until onion is clear and jalapeño is slightly caramelized. Add chicken and sear until slightly browned on all sides. Add fire roasted tomatoes, black beans, chicken broth, salt, and pepper, and oregano, bring to a boil, then simmer. Add zucchini and squash, cilantro, lime juice, and agave nectar. Simmer for 30 minutes. Taste test and adjust seasonings. (Allow soup to continue simmering while you make the tortillas.)
Meanwhile, heat oven to 400 F. Thinly coat both sides of corn tortillas in olive oil. (I lay one tortilla flat, pour a bit of olive oil on it, and swirl another tortilla on top of it to lightly coat them both all over and repeat until all sides are coated.) Season tortillas with kosher salt and bake in the oven 20 minutes (or until golden), flipping half way through. Remove from oven, cut into strips with a knife or crack them by hand. (I swear making your own chips is the difference between good and great tortilla soup.)
To garnish, ladle soup into bowls, add a dollop of greek yogurt, a handful of avocado, 1 lime wedge or slice, and a sprig of fresh cilantro. I’m telling you, this soup is so good, you don’t even need cheese! And when do you not need cheese? (In the picture above, I am missing the cilantro and lime, and I used what I had on hand, aka tortilla chips from a bag, thus the cheese.)
Ok, now go make it yourself and tell me what you think! For those of you who don’t like spice, just use one seeded jalapeño and see what you think. It should be easily palatable. For those of you who like extra spice, add some cayenne. Yum! And to boot, this soup can be frozen!!! In fact, we defrosted some earlier this week and it was delicious.
*note: the seeds are what make jalapeños so spicy, so I remove them and put them to the side, adding them slowly as I want more heat. also, wear gloves when chopping jalapeños, and wash your hands in white vinegar when you are done! the vinegar will remove the chemicals from your skin.