Tortilla Soup

I'm a big fan of soups.  They are usually easy.  They can be done quickly.  They are often cheap.  Who doesn't like cheap, fast, and easy?  Only communists.  That's who.  

This "Tortilla" Soup only requires about 30 minutes when you use one of those pre-cooked chickens from the supermarket.  I always stock onions, carrots, and celery and this whole thing, albeit delicious, was an afterthought.



  • Half an onion, diced
  • One rib of celery, diced
  • One large carrot, diced
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • One tablespoon of ground cumin
  • One teaspoon of ground coriander
  • One tablespoon of paprika
  • One chicken breast
  • One quart of water
  • One 28 ounce can of tomatoes
  • A handful of tortilla chips
  • A handful of cilantro, chopped


A knife, a pot, and a source of heat and that's it.  You also may want a wooden spoon.


Chop the vegetables to about a quarter-inch dice, the smaller they are, the faster they cook.  Add about a tablespoon of oil to a medium-hot pot; olive oil is good but it doesn't really matter.  Throw the vegetables in.  Stir.

Add about a tablespoon of salt (relax, it's soup), and a couple grinds of black pepper, keep stirring.  After about 5 minutes add the tablespoon of cumin, the tablespoon of paprika, and a teaspoon of coriander.  Keep stirring until they become soft, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, take a breast off the chicken, or two legs, or some tofu chicken, or a can of SPAM; it's your soup, what do I care?  Shred it or chop it.  If you have some cilantro laying around, chop that up, that would be good too.  My friend Terence wants me to remind you that, "adding meat is not necessary."

Once the veggies are soft, add the can of tomatoes and about two cups of water or just enough to cover them.  Add the chicken and the cilantro and bring to a rolling boil (that's a fancy term for a regular boil).

Taste it and season as needed.  Put it in a bowl.  Dump in a small handful of tortilla chips, some people like to break them up a little.  A dollop of sour cream makes everything better.  Eat it with a spoon.  


Authordavid koch