Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Yesterday I walked into an interview hoping for a summer internship.  I walked out 15 minutes later the food writing intern at Bellingham Alive, North Sound Life and Snohomish County Magazines.  It happened so quickly.  Literally the other day I was venting to both of my parents about needing to give up my dreams of being a food writer to go to real estate school so that I would be able to find a job (dramatic, I know).

Last Thursday, I was in Seattle to go to the dentist.  The days I go get a teeth cleaning are my least favorite days out of the year.  This is because I go in knowing the hygientist will say, “Dakota it looks like you have a bit of build up on your teeth.  Do you drink coffee?” Yes.  “Do you eat a lot of sugar?”  Yes.  “Do you floss regularly?” …yes?  This time, they told me my teeth looked great.  Just as I was about to sigh with relief that for the first time in years I wouldn’t need to schedule a follow-up appointment to get my cavities filled, her metal tool (which, by the way, she sharpened in front of me) caught on something in my back molar.  “Oh dear.  It looks like a previous filling is coming out.  You will need to get it redone.”  Of course.  After making this dreaded follow-up appointment, I stomped out of the office like a child.  I quickly got over it when I received an email from K&L Media, asking me to come in for an interview.  Wooooo!

I will be spending the summer and fall learning about what it takes to be a food writer, writing for a publication, and working on deadline.  I got this job partially thanks to this blog.

Speaking of success stories, this Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup is delish, especially when it’s paired with Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread.  I made a few adjustments to Ina’s recipe, however.  I added 2 cups of black beans, reduced the chicken to 1 breast (to satisfy my college-kid budget), added sautéed zucchini, and only used 2 quarts of chicken stock, and added 1 tablespoon of onion powder.

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 1-2 chicken breasts (Ina uses 4)
  • Good olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (2-3 stalks)
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
  • 1 zucchini sliced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 quarts chicken stock (Ina uses 2 1/2 because she uses more chicken breasts)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
  • 2 cups black beans
  • 2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 6 (6-inch) fresh corn tortillas

To serve

  • Cubed avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Tortilla chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan.  Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 30 minutes or until done.  When the chicken is cool, shred the meat.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven.  Add the onions, celery, zucchini, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, black beans, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, onion powder, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro.  Cut the tortillas in half, then cut them crosswise int 1/2-inch strips, and add them to the soup.  Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes (I did it for a bit longer so that the chicken broth reduced more).  Add the shredded chicken and season to taste.  Serve the soup hot with avocado, a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkling of cheddar, and broken tortilla chips for crunch.

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