Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This hearty chicken soup is the one to choose when you get a little bit bored with your standard chicken soup options. Tomato is a great wake-up for your palette and you can easily add your own customization to suit your tastes.

The stock can easily be made in an Instant Pot then strained to separate the meat from the broth. The soup tastes best if you can make it the day before and let the flavors mingle over night.

There are two aspects of this recipe in one post- first the making of the stock and then, the soup. If you’d prefer to simply use Apple Creek’s readymade, frozen broth concentrate then simply skip down to the recipe.

Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

Photo courtesy of Kelsey Kobik.

Chicken Stock


  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery rib or slice of celeriac, coarsely chopped
  • 8 black or white peppercorns
  • 1 length dried reishi mushroom
  • 4 lbs of organic chicken bones – 1 pack backs + necks OR 1 stew hen (If using a stew hen, skip roasting altogether, proceed to cover with water)


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  2. Place backs & necks on large baking sheet or in roasting pan with the vegetables
  3. Roast for 25-35 minutes or until backs are browned all over
  4. Cover with cold water in a large, narrow stock pot or Instant Pot
  5. If using the Instant Pot, add vegetables, set for high pressure and 2.5 hours, then strain & cool
  6. On the stove top, bring slowly to a boil, reduce heat at once and simmer uncovered about 30 minutes, skimming often until the vegetables are tender
  7. Simmer partly covered for 3-4 hour skimming often and adding water as needed to cover
  8. Strain and cool uncovered, then refrigerate covered.
  9. Remove the fat when ready to use
  10. Separate the meat from the bone and retain the meat for use in the soup below

Tortilla Soup

This recipe is adapted from one of our favorite cookbooks, Repertoire by Jessica Battilana.


  • Meat from 1 organic stew hen (prepared as described above) or 3 cups shredded chicken
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 large red onions, peeled – 1 cut into large chunks, 1 halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Grass-fed fat
  • 1 (18 oz jar) stewed tomatoes from Turtle Rock Farm or similar
  • 1/2 cup grits (the original recipe calls for a 20 oz can of hominy, drained and rinsed)
  • 4 (6-inch) corn tortillas, sliced into 1/4″ strips


  • Avocados, cubed
  • Shredded cheese
  • Shredded green cabbage
  • Lime wedges
  • Chimichurri – see recipe below
  • Sour cream


  1. Heat a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of grass-fed fat and when it is hot, add the sliced onions, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt.
  3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown, about 15 minutes
  4. Place the onions and garlic in a bowl, add the tomatoes (and their juice) and process until puréed using either an immersion blender or food processor.
  5. Return the tomato purée to the pot and heat over medium heat, stirring frequently until most of the liquid has cooked out and the mixture is thick like tomato paste, about 6 minutes.
  6. Pour in 6 cups of chicken stock, bring to a boil, then reduce to simmering.
  7. Add the shredded chicken and the grits or hominy and simmer for 20 minutes. At this step, we have also added canned or pre-cooked black beans or roasted peppers from Whatley Farm.
  8. Place the toppings including; avocados, cheese, chimichurri, cabbage, onion, and lime wedges in bowls or on a pretty tray.
  9. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve accompanied by the toppings to allow each person to customize their own bowl.

Tortillas Strips

  1. While the soup is simmering, heat 1/2″ of grass-fed fat in a medium frying pan over medium heat
  2. When the fat is hot, add half of the tortilla strips and fry until crisp, about 1 minute
  3. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to transfer strips to paper towels to drain


  1. Stir together in a small bowl:
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • Stir in:
    • 1 small onion, finely chopped
    • 1/3 cup finely chopped parsley or cilantro
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 tbsp finely chopped oregano (optional)
    • salt to taste
    • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper or to taste
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper or to taste
  • Cover and let stand for 2-3 hours (at least) to allow the flavors to develop. Sauce will keep, covered and refrigerated for 2 days.
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