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The weather was so cold and rainy here last week that it got me in the mood for this hearty chicken tortilla soup. It’s got a well-rounded flavor and some good substance. I started off with coriander and cumin, then added some vegetables, used the broth I poached the chicken in as the liquid for the soup and added some good spice with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. (You can adjust the spiciness to your liking by adding more or fewer chipotle peppers).
My husband says this soup goes really well with a Belgian white ale, a beer made with coriander and orange peel, so if you’re a beer person you may want to try that. I took just a sip (I’m more of a wine lady personally) and thought it was rather good indeed. Hope you’re having a great start into the week and, as always, thanks for coming by!
Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
- 1 large or two small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 cups chicken broth, more if needed
- 3 corn tortillas
- about 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 jalapeño, diced, seeds and ribs removed
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, sliced thinly
- one 14-ounce can petite diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- one 14-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- While the oven is heating up, start to poach the chicken: Place the chicken breast/s into a saucepan just large enough to fit it/them and add the broth. Make sure the chicken is completely submerged, if it isn’t, add more broth. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat, put on the lid and simmer until the chicken’s internal temperature registers 165 degrees F.
- While the chicken is poaching, cut the tortillas into thin strips and brush them with vegetable oil.
- Transfer the strips onto a baking sheet and bake until crisp (about 15 minutes). Turn them after 7 minutes.
- Meanwhile start working on the soup by heating the olive oil in a large pot until shimmering.
- Add cumin, coriander, onion and jalapeño and saute until the onion is translucent and slightly soft (about 8 minutes).
- Add garlic, chipotle chili, tomatoes and tomato paste and cook, while stirring, for a few more minutes.
- Add 2 cups of the poaching liquid to the pot, shred the chicken and add it to the pot as well.
- Add the beans, let the soup come to a boil, then turn the heat off.
- Taste the soup and if you like it spicier, add adobo sauce and/or more chipotle peppers.
- Fill the soup into bowls, sprinkle with tortilla strips and cilantro and serve.
Food Photography and Styling: It doesn’t get any more minimalistic than this photo, does it? I experimented with a few additional items in the frame but ended up liking it best the way you see it here, just the bowl sitting on a small plate and the small spoon off to the side. I played around with the camera angle for a (long) while until I had it such that the soup looked really inviting, almost as if it was about to jump up at the viewer.
When I looked at the soup while it was cooking I thought its most interesting component was the beans. I liked their purple color and their cute shape so I tried to bring out those two characteristics. I lit the set slightly from the back to create some nice highlights on the shiny beans (I brushed soup liquid onto them during the shoot to keep them shiny) and I kept the set really, really dark to make those highlights stand out.
I chose the severely tarnished spoon to match the subdued color and appearance of the bowl. Anything too shiny would have looked out of place and drawn too much attention away from the soup. I arranged the items in the soup such that they formed an almost circular pattern to keep the viewer’s eye moving around in the bowl. To break up the surface just a little bit I sprinkled some ground pepper on the wood.
Nikon D600, 105mm, f/8, 1/125 sec., ISO 100. One Hensel Integra Pro Plus 500 Monolight, 35″ x 58″ Softbox.