I recently stumbled across a photo of a lovely-looking Chicken Tortilla soup during some idle net-browsing (ie. I was stalking Zoë Foster-Blake on Instagram), and since then have been perfecting my own version at home. It’s light and fresh with a chilli and lime juice kick, and topped with a pleasing crispy tortilla crunch and a lovely avocado-y creaminess. It makes a simple and nourishing weeknight dinner and is done and dusted in around 30 minutes.
Heat some olive oil in a large heavy-based pot and add half a chopped onion, a diced red capsicum, two cloves of crushed garlic, and however many chillies you can handle. Fry on medium heat until soft and fragrant, then add a teaspoon each of cumin, ground coriander, and smoked paprika and stir to coat the veggies in the spices. Slice two corn tortillas into strips and throw them into the pot along with 2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock. Bring the soup to the boil, then turn down to a low heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Season with cracked black pepper and a good pinch of coarse sea salt , then blend with an immersion blender. Once blended, add a thinly sliced chicken breast (meat-avoiders could sub in black beans, kidney beans, lentils or chickpeas) and simmer until cooked.
While the chicken is on the go, thinly slice half an avocado, halve a lime, and chop up some fresh coriander. Heat a small non-stick pan and slice a couple more corn tortillas into thin strips, then fry for a few minutes on both sides until crispy. One the chicken has cooked, add some more salt and pepper if required, then ladle the soup into bowls and squeeze in some lime juice. Top with the coriander, avocado, and crispy tortilla strips, and finish with a final flourish of extra virgin olive oil.