Growing up the meals that’d make it onto our weekly menus generally stuck around in a rotation for a couple of weeks and then would trade off and be replaced fairly frequently. There was the pasta salad days, the macaroni and cheese days (some of the best), the panini days, the salad with consistent (and delicious) fillings days, the weekly shrimp cocktail days.. I could go on. There are a few items that have lasted through the years though- and tortilla soup is one of them. My mom makes the best tortilla soup. Fact.
The other day my sister asked me to make tortilla soup, and after having grown up with it I decided I’d take on the challenge- even though the probability of it falling short to my moms was pretty inevitable.
Luckily for me my sister is not at all judgemental of my cooking and generally just really appreciative of my efforts so she’d probably not even think that it wasn’t as good as my moms because she probably just wouldn’t think to compare it.
I on the other hand wanted to do all that I could to make it the very best it could be, so I started with roasting a whole chicken and using it to make homemade chicken stock!
Season up that chicken, its so so important because that meat will get used in the soup and the rest simmers in water to make the best chicken stock ever.
Okay so I can’t even tell you how long to roast a chicken, partially because it’ll change depending on the chicken and partially because I messed up and starting cutting into it when it was still raw in the middle so then had to put it back and guess again. BUT hope is not lost, its for sure google-able and if you say it’s roughly 45 min (but be sure to factor in that it might be a bit more or a bit less) than you’ll be fine!
Roasting with the skin on the chicken results in an incredible amount of moisture in the chicken- seriously don’t take the skin off. Just don’t!
So after the skin is crispy and the chicken is cooked through, remove all the meat and place to the side. Now with the rest, the carcass, you’ll add that to a big pot of water, 1-2 whole onions, a couple of whole carrots, and don’t forget to get all the crispies and juice from the bottom of the roasting pan to add to your stock too!
The best part is, you don’t even have to peel the onions or carrots AND all the gross, weird, and slightly gewy parts of the chicken don’t go to waste! Add salt pepper and garlic powder then simmer for nearly an hour or until your house has filled with the incredible chicken deliciousness smell.
Once the stock has finished, strain it to separate the liquid from the chicken carcass.
Important: if you don’t plan on using all of it very soon, FREEZE it!! Store bought stock can’t even compare to homemade but it goes bad quickly if not frozen!
**Another way to make stock and a chicken that’s good for this soup is just boil the entire chicken in a pot of water to cook it while making the stock at the same time, BUT I think the roasted chicken adds a great new depth of flavor.
**keep in mind when making this soup- the extra steps I took are not completely necessary to make a still very delicious tortilla soup. You can definitely pick up a pre-roasted chicken from the grocery store or a couple of chicken pieces to roast separately and a box of chicken stock if you’re in a time crunch!
4-5 carrots cut into bite side pieces
1-2 onions sliced
Handful of chopped cilantro
Shredded mozzarella cheese
– in a pot of simmering chicken stock add carrots and onions. Simmer until carrots are fork tender
– add cilantro, salt and pepper
– add the shredded chicken to warm through
– Serve: top the soup with tortilla chips, a generous amount of fresh slices avocado and an even more generous amount of cheese.
I hope you enjoy the tortilla soup as much as I do!