"Mom," my son Kurt has said to me many times since he became a legitimate eater at around age twelve, "soup is not a meal."
Too bad. I'm the cook and sometimes I like to make soup - as a meal.
On Sunday, I made Chicken Tortilla Soup. My friend Beckie is really good at creating copycat recipes. Several years ago, she copied Cafe Rio's Tortilla Soup and gave me her recipe. It's delicious. (I've probably changed it quite a bit over the years. I can't remember how much. Beckie might not even recognize it.)
The following was just the right amount for a meal for eight people on Sunday.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
fajita seasoning mix
3 quarts canned chicken broth
fresh lime juice
chopped garlic (I use garlic-in-a-jar)
1 can refried beans
1 can pinto beans
more fresh lime juice
Monterrey jack, shredded
frozen sweet corn from Costco, cooked
green onions, chopped
Put fajita seasoning in a gallon-sized Ziploc with 1/2 cup vegetable oil and 1/2 cup vinegar. Mix well. Add chicken breasts and marinate for a couple of hours. Heat chicken broth. On Sunday, I thought the broth I used was a little weak so I added 3 Tablespoons of chicken bouillon. Add the juice of about 3 or 4 limes and maybe a tablespoon of garlic. Okay, I admit it. I didn't really measure. Taste it and see if you like it. Adjust as needed. Put the refried beans in a bowl. Mix in the pinto beans and doctor it up with a little salsa and some taco seasoning. You now have chunky refried beans. Make guacamole with avocados, lime juice, cumin, and chili powder. Leave some of the avocado chunky so you have a chunky guacamole.(You can buy the good kind of pre-made guacamole at Costco if you want to.) Preheat your grill on high. Place chicken on grill and immediately reduce heat to low and shut lid. Turn after about ten minutes. Shut lid and cook for about seven more minutes. Remove from grill and cover with aluminum foil. Let stand for ten to fifteen minutes, then slice into thin strips. Set out all ingredients in serving bowls. Get the broth really hot. Boiling is okay. Some of the other ingredients are cold and will bring down the temperature. Serve assembly-line style, letting diners fill their bowls with the ingredients they like. Ladle broth into bowls over other ingredients. Top with cilantro and fried tortilla strips.
*You can make your own fried tortilla strips by cutting corn tortillas into thin strips and frying in hot vegetable oil. Drain on paper towels. But - I just saw tortilla strips for sale in a bag at Walmart the other day. I haven't tried them yet, but it sure sounds easy.
Yes, we had soup as a meal, and I don't think anybody went hungry.