When we lived in the Great State of Texas (and I say that with all sincerity – Texas will always be my hearts’ homeland) there was a restaurant called Tia’s that served the best tortilla soup. I’m not sure what it was about this particular tortilla soup that made it so amazing, but amazing it was. At that point in my life, I was too busy changing diapers and chauffeuring children hither and yon to stop and analyze a meal that I enjoyed. It tasted great and I didn’t have to make it myself – that was enough. Today, in the leisure of the waning years of my life I would very likely be quite intent upon figuring out what was in that soup that made it so good. In any case, we ate there every chance we could. But life has a way of moving on and our life moved us far away from Texas and Tia’s and their wonderful tortilla soup. But wherever we were, if we were eating out and the menu included tortilla soup we would order it, hoping to find some that matched Tia’s level of tortilla soup excellence. We found good tortilla soup – even very good tortilla soup – but never tortilla soup to compare with Tia’s. So I gave up. However, lately I have once again gone into search mode, but for a recipe rather than a restaurant since celiac disease has rendered my happy go lucky restaurant eating days mostly obsolete. And late last year, I think I found it! Now, it’s been so long since I have had the real deal (Tia’s has been out of business for many years) that I couldn’t say for sure that this is just like theirs. But it is good. It is very good. It is very, very, very good. And it is easy to boot, which is a big plus. You can make it in a slow cooker so it can be waiting for you when you get home from wherever you have been, tired and world weary and in need of the type of the comfort that only a big bowl of wonderful homemade soup can give.
Lin Walker’s Official Favorite Tortilla Soup in the Whole Wide World
2 cans diced tomatoes (I’m really a fan of the fire roasted diced tomatoes if you can find them)
1 qt of chicken broth
2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup of your favorite salsa
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
4 large carrots, chopped into 1/4″ rounds
2 Tbsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
toppings: Monterey Jack cheese (shredded), sliced avocados, chopped cilantro, tortilla chips, sour cream, some limes to squeeze on top
Combine all the ingredients except the chicken breast in a slow cooker and mix well. Add the chicken. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. At this point the chicken should be cooked and easy to shred so take it out and shed it with two forks. Return to the slow cooker and mix it in well. Serve with your choice of the topping ingredients (and why you would eliminate any one of them is beyond my comprehension.)
Do you remember those Xochitl tortilla chips I was telling you about? Well, this is a good time to feature them. Placing a few chips artfully on each bowl of soup helps you get some mileage out of that heftily priced bag. People don’t tend to go hog wild on the chips when they’re an accompaniment to soup like they do when they’re scooping up salsa with them.