Confession: I had never eaten tortilla soup before I made this recipe.
Another confession: This is not surprising, as there are lots of things I have never eaten before. I, probably like many of you, will often read a description of the dish or list of ingredients, think "eeew!" and then never give it another thought.
Lately, I've been learning that my judgmental nature has cut me off from some pretty good eating.
(Remember the stew?)
In reading a recent issue of a popular food magazine, I was drawn to a photo and recipe for tortilla soup; it was gorgeous and looked delicious. Then I read the headnote. What made this one noteworthy, in the magazine's view, was the chef's secret substitution: instead of tortillas, he used butter. An assload of butter. I think it was an entire stick.
What the ... ? Wouldn't that then be BUTTER SOUP?
I don't know about you, but when I want a little crunch alongside my sandwich at lunchtime or a vehicle to scoop up some yummy guacamole, I DON'T GRAB A STICK OF BUTTER.
Call me crazy.
Needless to say, I didn't make that recipe. But it did prompt me to explore some other non-buttery, might-actually-contain-tortillas tortilla soup recipes. What I found led to me believe that this was a perfect candidate for the slow cooker.
Not only that but, without adding the freakin' stick of butter, the soup is on the healthy end of the food spectrum, particularly if you make your own tortilla strips, rather than using the processed kind from a bag.
So put down that stick of butter and fire up the crockpot: soup's on.
Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup
As written, this recipe makes enough soup for about 4-5 people (or two, with leftovers). Feel free to double it; no need to adjust the cook time.
1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 15-oz. (-ish) can diced tomatoes with chiles
1 green pepper, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (no need to thaw)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 6-inch corn tortillas
shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Put all the ingredients EXCEPT the tortillas, olive oil, cheese and cilantro in a slow cooker and stir. Cover and cook on low for about 7-8 hours. (You know this is my favorite instruction to type!!)
Just before the soup is finished, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place tortillas on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a brush or oil sprayer, barely coat each side of the tortillas with a little bit of olive oil. Bake for about 20 minutes (turning them over once, if you remember) or until crisped. Break into pieces. Top each serving of soup with some tortilla "chips", cilantro and cheese.