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)
8 sprigs of fresh cilantro (chopped)
2 avocados (thinly sliced wedges)
4 corn tortillas
corn oil or canola oil
salt & pepper to taste
- In a large pot, simmer the chicken breast in the chicken broth for about 5 minutes
- Remove the breast from the broth
- Reduce to medium heat, add tomatoes and onions & optional jalapenos
- Shred the chicken breasts and return to the pot
- Add salt, pepper and the juice of 4 limes
- Let the the soup cook for about 20 minutes
- Top with cilantro and avocados
- Add tortilla to each individual serving to maintain some crunchiness
- Just for fun, I’ll sometimes throw in a chicken foot whenever we’re entertaining guest
Tortilla Strips Directions
- Slice tortillas into thin strips.
- Pan fry in canola or corn oil until crispy
- Remove and place on paper towel to absorb excess oil
- Salt to taste
What’s your favorite way to prepare chicken?