A new recipe—chicken tortilla soup



This past week one of my friends mentioned on facebook that she had made some chicken tortilla soup and had put cactus paddles (also known as nopales or nopalitos) into it.   I had never made chicken tortilla soup (have eaten it a number of times and LOVED it, but had never made it before).   I asked my friend for a recipe….she cooks like I do….just tossing this and that into a pot…..so I started looking at recipes online.   A trip to our local hispanic market on Saturday morning combined with the ideas that I had gotten from all of the different recipes that I had looked at, and I had a firm idea of what it was that I wanted to do.   SO, as inspired by my dear friend Angela, here is my original recipe for chicken tortilla soup.

Now, before I share the recipe, I wanted to share how I made the chicken broth and got the chicken cooked.   I bought 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts at the hispanic market, liberally salted and peppered them, put them in my large (I believe it is 8 quart) stock pot and added an onion that I had washed, but not peeled, cut into quarters, a jalapeno pepper that I cut in half, half of a bunch of cilantro, and 4 large cloves of garlic.  I filled the pot with water and put it on the stovetop to cook.  Brought it all to a boil, and turned it down and let it simmer for about an hour.  Removed the chicken breasts, pulled the skin and bones off of them and put the skin and bones back in the pot and let it simmer longer (2 1/2 hours total….I adjusted the seasoning after removing the chicken from the bones and added more salt and pepper to have a nice flavorful broth).  I shredded the chicken and set it aside in the refrigerator until I was ready to assemble the soup. (The 4 chicken breasts and all of the broth was enough to make 2 pots of soup….one we ate for dinner over the weekend, the 2nd I made and a couple of us had it for lunch yesterday and the rest of it went into the freezer for another lunch).

Here’s the recipe!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Serves 6

an original recipe by Lori4squaremom, as inspired by Angela 🙂

  • 2 chicken breasts, shredded (approx 3 cups of shredded chicken breast meat)
  • 1 cup diced red, yellow, green peppers (I used a mixture to equal 1 cup)
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced cactus paddle (nopales), you can rinse it to remove some of the sliminess if you’d like….the way I cook it, it does cook out)
  • 2 tablespoons masa harina (or finely ground cornmeal) dissolved in 1/4 cup chicken broth or water
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked dry black beans)
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked dry pinto beans)
  • 1 can ro-tel original diced tomatoes with chilis
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • approx 2 quarts chicken broth (or enough to fill soup pot)


  • baked tortilla strips (or tortilla chips)
  • grated cheese
  • salsa
  • diced avocado
  • lime wedges
  • cilantro leaves

To make soup:

In soup pot, heat oil, add onions, peppers and cactus.  Cook until vegetables are soft and onions are translucent.  Add chili powder and cumin and cook for just a moment until you can faintly smell the spices, add tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.   Add masa harina slurry and cook for another 2 minutes.   This will create a thick paste.  Slowly add 1/2 of the chicken stock, stirring in after every cup or two added.   Add Ro-tel tomatoes, canned beans and chicken.   Stir in enough broth to fill soup pot, or to cover meat and veggie and bean mixture by a couple of inches.   Let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring a few times.  At end of 30 minutes, turn heat off and let soup sit for 15-30 minutes before serving.

Pour into bowls, top with tortilla strips (chips), grated cheese, salsa, avocado and cilantro leaves.  Serve with lime wedge.


This soup does freeze very well!

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1 Response to A new recipe—chicken tortilla soup

  1. angela says:

    love it!!

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