Charred Tomato, Chicken and Tortilla Soup

tortilla soup(1)Serves 4

12 plum tomatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2 ears corn, husks removed
2 small unpeeled onions, halved
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
Kosher salt
4 (6-inch) corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (from rotisserie chicken or two 6-ounce packages roasted chicken)
1 (14 to 14 1/2-ounce) can chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Freshly ground black pepper
1 ounce sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons rinsed, dried and chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat broiler to high. Arrange tomatoes, corn, onion and garlic in 1 layer on a rimmed baking sheet and broil 4 inches from heat, turning occasionally, until they are charred on the outside, about 10 minutes for the corn and garlic — then remove with tongs. Continue broiling the tomatoes and onions for another 8 minutes or so. Transfer vegetables to a cutting board as they finish cooking to let them cool.

Combine oil, chili powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt and brush over 1 side of each tortilla. Cut 3 tortillas in half and then into 1/4 -inch strips. Set aside the whole tortilla to add to the soup later and arrange the strips on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake the strips on the bottom shelf of the oven while the vegetables are under the broiler. If tortillas are not crisp when the vegetables are charred, reduce oven to 400 degrees and bake 6 minutes, until crisp.

Peel tomatoes, onions and garlic and transfer in batches to a blender or food processor to purée. Crumble whole tortilla and add it to the blender with one of the batches. Cut corn kernels from the cobs.

Transfer the puréed vegetables from the blender to a large saucepan; stir in the chicken, broth and corn. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat; stir in the lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle into bowls and top each portion with some of the cheddar, cilantro and tortilla strips.

Mexican Coleslaw
Serves 4

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 to 2 teaspoons minced chipotles in adobo
2 tablespoons finely chopped mixed fresh herbs (such as tarragon, chives, and parsley)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 small cabbage, preferably Napa
2 large carrots
1 small red bell pepper

Whisk together the buttermilk, the chipotle in adobo, mayonnaise, herbs, and lemon juice. Stir in the garlic and kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Trim and finely slice the cabbage. Coarsely grate the carrots, preferably using the shredding disk of a food processor (about 1½ cups). Cut the bell pepper into matchsticks (about 1 cup).  Toss together the cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, and a hefty pinch of salt in a large bowl. Add as much of the dressing as desired and toss well.


Other uses for rotisserie chicken:

    • salads
    • quesdillas, rolled tortillas, enchiladas
    • sandwiches, hot and cold
    • pizza
    • pasta
    • omelets and frittatas
    • stews and chilis
    • save leftover bones in freezer to make stock


Blending Soup Tip:  Now the soup I’m making today is served hot…but even if you are going to serve a soup cold it is best to puree it while it is hot; it will come out much smoother. The best tool for this job is the blender. Years ago when the food processor was developed I retired my blender thinking that the food processor could do everything a blender could and better. I was wrong. You never get the same silky texture from a soup or pureed dish as you do when you put it in a blender. But you must be careful or you will end up wearing it. You should only fill the blender about one third full with hot liquid and then leave the lid very slightly ajar to allow for the heat to escape and cover the top of the blender with a kitchen towel. Let it rip for quite awhile to make sure you get that creamy texture and then, if you want, you can pass it through a strainer to get rid of any residual tiny lumps.

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Thanks to

Fairway for donating all the food | Chantal for the cookware | Le Creuset for the Dutch ovens | Wustoff for the knives | Boos for the cutting boards | Kitchen Aid for the appliances | Oxo for the small kitchen tools |

6 Responses to Charred Tomato, Chicken and Tortilla Soup

  1. Vickie says:

    Hi Sara,
    This soup sounds wonderful and I can’t wait to make it. Curious to know if the cilantro can be substituted for another herb? What would be your recommendation?
    Thanks so much!
    Vickie from Charlotte, NC

  2. Jenny says:

    Thanks so much for this recipe! I have recently discovered your Weeknight Meals show and will be looking to find a cookbook soon! Can’t wait to make this. 🙂

  3. Polly Sullivan says:

    Sara…I am making this soup for my families dinner tonight! Thank you so much for the recipe…I am so appreciative of how you explain everything so simply when watching ‘Sara’s Weeknight Meals’

  4. Lori says:

    Just curious why wouldn’t you leave the charred tomato skins for flavor? Using a high end blender seems like it would blend everything to perfection. I love watching your show and love your recipes!

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