Chicken Tortilla Soup

When I was growing up, my mother would always make me eat a bowl of chicken soup whenever I was sick. She would open a can, heat it on the stovetop and serve it to me with saltine crackers. I can’t remember if the soup ever made me feel better or not and I don’t recall it being particularly good. I just know that I always associated chicken soup with being sick. 

As a result, I always viewed chicken soup as more of a medicine than as  a food to be enjoyed. 

Until I became the Foursquare Mayor of a Mexican restaurant. 

When El Ranchero opened up just a few blocks from our house, it became our go-to place to eat whenever we didn’t feel like cooking. We probably eat there about twice a week (when I’m in town). 

Several years ago, I was suffering from a sinus infection and a scratchy throat. I really didn’t have much of an appetite but I knew I needed something to eat, so for the first time, I ordered El Ranchero’s chicken tortilla soup. It was the best soup I had ever eaten! I can’t say if the soup had any healing properties, but I can say that it was memorable enough that I wanted it again. 

Being a foodie, I felt compelled to experiment at home with the ingredients that I thought was in the soup so I could make it for myself. After a few tries, I finally perfected it. In fact, I like my version a little better than El Ranchero’s (please don’t tell ‘em). Now it has become one of our go-to dishes for entertaining, watching football, and of course for anytime we’re feeling under the weather. 


2 chicken breasts
2 quarts of chicken broth
1 chicken foot (optional – for good luck)
4 diced tomatoes
2 diced onions
2 diced jalapenos (optional – for extra heat)
4 limes
8 sprigs of fresh cilantro (chopped)
2 avocados (thinly sliced wedges)
4 corn tortillas
corn oil or canola oil
salt & pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot, simmer the chicken breast in the chicken broth for about 5 minutes
  2. Remove the breast from the broth
  3. Reduce to medium heat, add tomatoes and onions & optional jalapenos
  4. Shred the chicken breasts and return to the pot
  5. Add salt, pepper and the juice of 4 limes
  6. Let the the soup cook for about 20 minutes
  7. Top with cilantro and avocados
  8. Add tortilla to each individual serving to maintain some crunchiness
  9. Just for fun, I’ll sometimes throw in a chicken foot whenever we’re entertaining guest

Tortilla Strips Directions

  1. Slice tortillas into thin strips.
  2. Pan fry in canola or corn oil until crispy
  3. Remove and place on paper towel to absorb excess oil
  4. Salt to taste

This just one of my favorite ways to prepare chicken. But you’re in the mood for something else, check out the nearly 150 recipes on the Sanderson Farms website!

What’s your favorite way to prepare chicken? 

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