Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
While the origins of tortilla soup (also known as sopa Azteca or sopa de tortilla) can be traced to central Mexico, it has many variations, often characterized by a brothy chicken base flavored with puréed roasted tomatoes, chiles and garlic, and topped with fried leftover tortillas and other garnishes. In this nontraditional slow-cooker version, tomatoes, onion, garlic and chile are charred under the broiler (on a foil-lined sheet pan, for easy clean-up), then go straight into the slow cooker, where they add savory depth to the chicken soup. (No slow-cooker? Use the stovetop version of this recipe.)
- Serves: 4 persons
- 5large plum tomatoes (about 1 pound), cored and halved
- 1white onion, peeled and quartered
- 12ounces cherry tomatoes (about 2 heaping cups)
- 8garlic cloves (unpeeled)
- 2jalapeños, stemmed and halved, 1 seeded and de-ribbed
- 2tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 ½teaspoons ground cumin
- 2teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 ½teaspoons coarse kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1teaspoon onion powder
- 1teaspoon garlic powder
- 4cups chicken broth or stock
- 2carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 1 ½pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed
- Tortilla chips
- Any combination of hot sauce, cilantro and queso fresco, for topping
Step 1Heat a broiler with a rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source. Line a sheet pan with foil, add the plum tomatoes and arrange them in an even layer, cut sides up. Add the onions, cherry tomatoes, garlic and jalapeños, distributing them evenly, and broil for 15 minutes, checking and rotating the pan every 5 minutes to make sure the vegetables are charring and blistering evenly. (The vegetables should be blackened in spots, slumped and sizzling. Many of the cherry tomatoes will have burst.)
Step 2Discard the garlic skins, then roughly chop the onion, garlic, jalapeños and plum tomatoes, transferring them to a 5- to 8-quart slow cooker. Transfer the cherry tomatoes and any juices to a separate bowl and refrigerate.
Step 3Stir the oil, tomato paste, cumin, oregano, salt, onion powder and garlic powder into the slow cooker, followed by the chicken broth, carrots and chicken thighs. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.
Step 4Before serving, fold the avocado into the cherry tomatoes; season with a pinch of salt and the juice of half the lime.
Step 5In the slow cooker, coarsely shred the chicken with two forks. Add the juice of the remaining lime half, and season to taste with salt.
Step 6Serve the soup in bowls topped with crushed tortilla chips and spoonfuls of the tomato-avocado salsa. Pass hot sauce, queso fresco and/or cilantro at the table, if desired.