ATK Recipe #35: Tortilla Soup

I’m not a big fan of soup in general. I really only like thick, creamy soups or soups with lots of yummy stuff in them. So, naturally I love tortilla soup. I would even go so far as to say I’m a tortilla soup connoisseur. I’ve had some excellent home-made tortilla soups and even have some good recipes, but I’ve never made it myself.

From the beginning I was a little suspicious of this recipe. They instruct you to cook the onion, jalapeno, chili powder, and garlic and then add chicken broth. Simmer, add chicken breasts until cooked. Remove chicken breasts, shred, continue cooking broth 10 more minutes. Then you build layers of extras in the bowl: crushed tortilla chips, shredded chicken, tomatoes, avocados, then spoon the broth over top.

This sounded wrong to me. Why remove the chicken from the soup? And my instinct on tortilla soup says the tomatoes should be cooked in the broth. But I went ahead with the instructions as written. I did add the shredded chicken back to the broth after shredding it, though. I used my favorite tortilla chips, On The Border. I also added shredded cheese. Cause tortilla soup needs shredded cheese.

The final result was disappointing. Justin and I both agreed that it needed more flavor, more spice. It was kinda boring. Plus, the tortilla chips immediately disintegrated into gloop. The next night I had the soup again, but this time I dumped a can of Rotel into it to add spice and tomato and I used different tortilla chips. (Yes, I keep more than one kind of tortilla chip in the house. I’m a Texan. Don’t ask how many kinds of salsa I have.) The soup was much better with those changes.

Tortilla Soup

I definitely wouldn’t use this recipe again. Once again, The America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook shows they’re not experts at Mexican dishes. No wonder the book mostly ignores any kind of ethnic cuisine. They obviously do better when they stick to Midwest-type food. Or Western classics, I suppose.

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