There's nothing like a crock pot full of tortilla soup on a cold winter day. I'm surprised I haven't shared this comfort food recipe before now. It's one of our favorites...and it comes with a story!
This soup recipe calls for one chipotle in adobo sauce. Do you know what that is? It's a smoked jalapeno, so it packs a bit of heat. The first time I made this soup I had never used chipotle peppers and mis-read the recipe, adding not just one, but ONE CAN of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce! This was one of the worst mistakes I've ever made in the kitchen (and I've made a lot of them). Holy smokes! I'm all for spicy food, but this was a level of heat perhaps never experienced by anyone still alive.
Luckily, I realized my error before dinner time. Not knowing what to do, I jumped on the internet for emergency remedies to this dire situation. I tried diluting the soup with more chicken broth...adding sour cream...brown sugar...even peanut butter, as desperate times called for desperate measures! Spouse loves spicy food, so he was a good sport about it and we eventually managed to *sip* most of it while downing glass after glass of water. But it took a very long time, since my efforts to dilute it created GALLONS of tortilla soup! :)
Now that I know all about chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, I add between one and three peppers when I make this recipe and just freeze the remaining peppers for later. You can leave them out altogether if you don't care for spicy food. Don't let my ineptitude in the kitchen keep you from making this wonderful soup...with or without the chipotle peppers!
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2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 chipotle in adobo sauce, minced (1 pepper -- not 1 can!)
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
6 cups chicken broth, low-sodium canned
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen and thawed
1 ripe tomato, chopped
1 cup shredded cooked chicken (rotisserie chicken works great)
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 2 limes)
About a dozen corn tortilla chips, broken a bit
Lime wedges, optional
Sour cream (my own addition -- quite yummy!)
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, chipotle, chili powder, and salt and cook until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil, reduce the heat slightly, and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add the corn and cook for 5 minutes more.
Pull the saucepan from the heat and stir in the tomato, chicken, cilantro, and lime juice. Divide the tortilla chips among 4 warmed bowls, ladle the soup on top, and serve with lime wedges, if desired.
Note: I simply combine all the ingredients and bring the soup to a boil on the stove, then put it in the crock pot on low for the afternoon.
A spoonful of sour cream is an excellent topper for this soup! You'll need a LOT of it if you add the whole can of chipotle peppers! :)