I dish up tacos so often at dinner parties, sometimes I worry that my friends will think I’m a one trick pony. So I love it when Cinco de Mayo rolls around and I actually have an excuse to serve margaritas next to troughs of mashed avocado.
Besides the avocados, Mexican-themed ingredients tend to be cheap as can be. Black beans? Homemade tortilla chips? Fatty cuts of meat slow cooked for hours? Yes please. I love having my friends over. But it does tend to add up over time. Unless, of course, I’m testing recipes and “dinner” becomes a strange mélange of casseroles.
Mexican dinners not only keep my costs down, but any theme with plenty of fixings lends itself well to delegation. You can assign someone salsas for appetizers, bags of tortilla chips, sour cream, and shredded cheese. If you trust the guest to not arrive at your doorstep with a bag of bright green rock hard orbs, you can even pawn off those pricy avocados. And then of course, one saucy lass brings tequila, and everything just starts to make sense.
I host a monthly girls dinner and this is usually how the evening evolves. Most recently, I decided to take a little break from Taco Tuesday and make a big pot of tortilla soup. I’ve been dying to add a chicken tortilla soup recipe to the blog since it’s something that I love to eat, but have sadly few places to source it from outside my kitchen. I would never trust the Mexican place downstairs with something that involved more than a glass of cheap tequila and fake lime juice.
Soup seems like kind of a strange choice when you’re entertaining, but so long as you fill the table with plenty of fixings, it will be just as fun and interactive as a night of tacos. Though there’s a higher risk of knocking over a glass of something or other, I tend to think that dinner parties that involve more passing, end up involving more fun. Because what indicates fun had better than a sticky dining room tabletop covered in your friends’ beverages?
I hope you take advantage of this time of year and host your own Mexican fiesta. Now that I’ve copped to my cheapskate ways, I may have to wait until next May to cook up this easy chicken tortilla soup recipe and farm out the fixings to my friends.
Spring Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Olive oil
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Sea salt
- 1 large red onion diced
- 2 medium carrots diced
- 1 jalapeno seeds and ribs removed, minced
- 2 large garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- One 15-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes preferably with green chiles
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- 4 corn tortillas
- 1 cup Florida Sweet Corn kernels
- 1 cup sweet peas or finely sliced sugar snap peas
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large lidded stock pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season the chicken thighs and sear them in the pan until both sides are nicely browned, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate.
- Add the onions and carrots to the pan. Saute the vegetables until soft and beginning to brown, 6 minutes. Stir in the jalapeno, garlic, chili powder, and cumin. Cook another minute, until fragrant. Carefully pour in the tomatoes and simmer until the liquid is reduced and the tomatoes are soft, 5 minutes. Add the chicken thighs back to the pot, along with the stock and 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, until the chicken is very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, on a clean work surface, brush each tortilla on both sides with olive oil. Stack the tortillas in a pile and cut them into thin strips. Arrange the strips in an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven until the tortillas are crispy and beginning to curl, 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand on the baking sheet until cool enough to touch. Set aside.
- Remove the chicken from the pot with tongs and shred into bite-sized pieces. Add back to the soup along with the corn, peas, and lime juice. Cook 5 minutes more.
- Divide the tortillas between 4 bowls and top with the soup. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and diced avocado.