I have had a recipe for Tortilla Soup for years. I cut it out of the Orange County Register back when we lived in California. If I remember correctly, it was the recipe for the tortilla soup served at one of my favorite restaurants, El Torito. That is a chain on the West Coast. I really miss it and go at least once on every visit back to California.
I made it recently and it was delicious. As good as I remembered. I make it a bit differently than the recipe, so here is how I like it.
8 cups chicken broth ( I use 4 cans or two of the cardboard thingies.)
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced. I use a handful of mini carrots.
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large Russet potato, peeled and diced
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 cloves minced garlic, I buy the kind in the jar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
2 skinless chicken breast, poached and shredded. Or buy the rotisserie chicken and shred that.
1 medium zucchini, diced
2 medium tomatoes seeded and diced
4 or 5 corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded Jack cheese
1 avocado, sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Combine the broth, onion, carrots, celery, potato, tomato paste, garlic, oregano.
You can salt and pepper it now or wait until you are done and taste it to see. Bring everything to a boil over medium high heat. Then lower to simmer for 25 minutes.
I use this time to poach my chicken and cook the tortillas. Just bring a medium pan of water to a boil and add the chicken breasts. They only take a few minutes to cook. Cut one open and if it is pink, keep cooking until they are white clear through. Remove from the water and let cool. Pull them apart with a fork in each hand. Set aside.
You can cook the tortillas by cutting them into strips and then cooking them in hot oil. I prefer to place the strips in a single layer on a cookie sheet and spray them with Pam. I sprinkle with salt and cook for about 10-15 minutes in a 400° oven.
Keep a close eye after 10 minutes. They go from not brown to too brown very quickly!
Take them out of the oven and dump on some paper towels until you are ready to use them.
After 25 minutes of the soup cooking, add the zucchini, tomatoes and shredded chicken . Bring up the heat and bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat again to a simmer for about 10 more minutes.
Place a few of the tortillas strips in the bottom of a bowl. Sprinkle some of the cheese on top and ladle in the soup. Garnish with avocados and cilantro.