Southern Californians take their Mexican food very seriously. Whether we’re talking about fish tacos, spicy margaritas, or breakfast burritos, everyone has their favorite (often “secret”) spot. But there’s one SoCal Mexican dish you can make at home, time and time again, with better-than-restaurant results: chicken tortilla soup.
Every Mexican food restaurant, and even some major chains, have their version of chicken tortilla soup. And while they all differ in some way, there’s one similarity throughout: way too much salt. No one wants to have soup for dinner only to discover their wedding rings won’t come off at bedtime (not to mention tummy bloat).
As with any dish, when you make chicken tortilla soup at home, you control the salt. And if you make your own chicken stock, all the better. The slow cooker is the perfect tool for chicken tortilla soup, especially my adaptation of Chicken Tortilla Soup from Williams-Sonoma’s The New Slow Cooker cookbook.
I use chicken breasts instead of thighs and always add extra, as my Gigi loves the shredded chicken with Spanish rice. Prep takes all of thirty minutes in the morning, and by dinner, you have a dish that rivals anything you’d find in a restaurant. Add some cilantro, fresh lime juice and tortilla chips (from your favorite restaurant, of course), and you’ve got a Mexican fiesta any day of the week.
Just don’t forget the margaritas.
- 1 15-ounce crushed tomatoes
- 1 red onion, peeled and quartered
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 jalapeño chiles, seeded and chopped
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 4-5 organic chicken breasts
- 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 bag frozen corn
- Suggested garnishes:
- Fresh lime juice
- Tortilla chips
- Avocado slices
- Chopped cilantro
- Add the tomatoes and their juice, the onion, garlic, jalapeño chile and 1 cup stock to a blender and process until almost smooth. Add to the slow cooker.
- Place the chicken breasts on top of the tomato mixture, careful not to overlap the meat.
- Juice a single lime, and add the juice to the slow cooker along with the remaining chicken stock, red wine vinegar, ground cumin and bay leaves. Add the salt and pepper.
- Replace the cover and cook on low for 5 hours.
- Once the 5 hours has elapsed, remove the chicken and bay leaves from the slow cooker and replace the cover; discard the bay leaves.
- Shred the meat and return the chicken to the slow cooker; add the frozen corn.
- Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes longer.
- Serve immediately. Suggested garnishes include fresh lime juice, tortilla chips, avocado slices and chopped cilantro.