OK. So, like most of ya’ll, we have some family traditions this time of year. Besides the more-people-than-places-to-sit type celebration which is the only way I know how to give thanks in November, one of my favorite traditions is making tortilla soup with the turkey leftovers.
Now my dad is Mexican and nothing would please me more than to say that I will soon be revealing my Grandmother’s family recipe from the hills of Tabasco. Unfortunately that is not the case. Nope. This is because like in most homes, it was my mother’s culture that influenced our meals. I think my mom–Michigander of German descent–found her tortilla soup recipe in a magzine years ago. I will say this: we have altered and, dare I say, perfected the recipe. (Yes. I dare.)
You can go to 20 Mexican restaurants and have tortilla soup served 20 different ways. I actually don’t order it out any more because, well, I like my Michigander-German-descent-from-a-magazine-but-now-doctored-up-just-right concoction just fine. Before reading on, don’t be intimidated by the seemingly long list of ingredients. There’s nothing too exotic in here, which is yet another reason to love it.
Michelle’s Tortilla Soup
Soup Ingredients: 1-2 lbs chopped chicken, turkey or beef, 3 tbsp. olive oil, small can diced chilis, 2 medium chopped onions, 2 diced red bell peppers, 2 cans drained black beans, 28 oz. can chopped tomato w/juice or a few diced fresh tomatoes, 6 cups chicken/turkey/or beef broth/or a combination of meat broths, 1 can tomato sauce, 1-3 tbsp. cumin, 1-2 tbsp. chili powder, 2 tbsp. worchestershire, 3 cloves garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
Toppings: diced green onion, diced fresh cilantro, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, corn tortillas cut into squares, tortilla chips
Directions: If the meat is raw, cook it in the oil with the onion, bell peppers and garlic. If meat is cooked, put it aside while cooking onions, peppers and garlic. Then add all other soup ingredients (including the meat), bring to a boil and then let simmer on low for about 45 minutes. If possible, make this a day ahead of time, refrigerate and then reheat. Chilling the soup and then warming it back up helps all the yumola flavors really get to know one another. That said, it can be really hard to wait to eat this soup!
Regarding the toppings, Mike loves his tortillas to get heated up with the soup so they get sort of melded into his steamy bowl. I actually just like a few crunchy tortilla chips on top with the cilantro and onion. You do what works for you. K?
Tips: I made this batch of soup with a bone broth I made for 36 hours in the crock pot after Thanksgiving. It. Is. So. Good. Oh; this recipe is pretty mild so my kids and mother can eat it. You can also add diced jalapenos to the soup and/or include some spicy salsa on your list of toppings. Final tip = don’t worry about quantities in this here recipe too much. If your soup is too thin, add more toppings. Done.