Ranch Style Tortilla Soup

June 12, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Posted in Mexican/Southwest, Soup | 29 Comments
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Before we get to the soup, I must tell you that my husband drug home a can of Spam the other day. I was pretty sure I had never…ever…not once eaten Spam. 

So, just as one would call their mother to ask about the occurence of a childhood disease, I phoned home to ask if I had ever had Spam when I was a kid. She confirmed that I had not. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t come from a family of food snobs, lord knows I’ve eaten my share of cold Franco American Spaghetti-O’s out of the can…but it appears I’ve never eaten Spam. 

Got me thinking, besides Spam…I’ve never eaten eel…and in spite of  my geographical location, I’ve never had Rocky Mountain Oysters…

In your comments, I’d love to hear a couple of things that you’ve never eaten.  I’ll let you know what we do with the Spam.

So with that out of the way, let’s talk about something I’ve eaten a lot of…Tortilla Soup.

I know, it’s Summer, but I don’t need to be sitting around in front of the fireplace wrapped up in my hot pink Snuggie with two feet of snow on the ground to enjoy a delicious bowl of soup. Especially when it’s one of my favorites like Tortilla Soup. 

About the photo…I promise there’s a big bowl of wonderfully seasoned brothy goodness underneath all those hearty chunky toppings…and lots of it.

A couple of weeks ago, Heather over at Girlichef  threw out a Tortilla Soup Challenge. Since it’s one of my all-time favorite soups and a great movie, I was “IN”. I combined some things I liked from a couple of recipes, added a couple of my own ideas. Here’s my end result:

(Highlands) Ranch Style Tortilla Soup

  • 2 fresh Poblano peppers, large diced
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion, large diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 28 ounces of chicken stock (I used homemade, or two cans)
  • 1 can undrained diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup Rotel tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup fresh sweet corn kernels
  • 2 chicken breasts without skin, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Goya Bitter Orange-flavored Adobo Seasoning (optional as it can be hard to find)
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Corn tortilla chips, slightly crushed by hand
  • Fresh chopped cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Diced avocado
  • Lime Wedges

1.  In a Dutch oven over medium to medium high heat, cook peppers and onions for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Add cumin seeds, garlic and continue cooking until fragrant, about two minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, corn and simmer for about 5 minutes.

2.  In the meantime, in a fry pan, heat olive oil to medium high. Add bite sized pieces of chicken breast and cook stirring almost constantly, until browned and cooked almost through. While cooking, sprinkle the chicken with the orange-flavored Goya Adobo Seasoning.

3.  Add chicken to soup pot and simmer a couple of minutes to finish cooking the chicken.

4.  To serve, ladle soup into soup bowls, top with broken up corn chips, Monterey Jack cheese, a dollop of sour cream, diced avocado and sprinkle with cilantro. Take one of those wedges of lime and squeeze over the whole bowl. Take a big soup spoon, swirl and enjoy.

Tortilla Soup,

It’s What’s For Dinner.

Also shipping this across the Pacific for Deb’s Souper Super. 



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  1. It’d hard for me to think soup when it’s 90* outside, but this sounds so good,I may have to try it anyway. When I was a kid, Mom bought Treet rather than Spam. I smoked some a while back and it was pretty good – still tasted like Spam though. Make sure you check out my blog on Sunday.

    • Denver: 44 degrees, constant rain mixed with hail, rumbling thunder, flash flood warnings…sounds like soup weather to me. 🙂

    • I’ve never heard of Treet, but Googled it. I wonder if Treet made it west?

  2. I have a feeling spam isn’t really eaten anymore…except in Hawaii. So you’re not alone!

    That tortilla soup looks um. awesome! Love the avocado!

    What is something that I’ve never eaten…well I’ve never eaten SPAM. Or parsnips. I’ve never had parsnips.

    • I like parsnips in stews. I’m surprised you’ve not had them. Spam is still eaten in Hawaii???? LOL, why Hawaii?

  3. Because it reached 90 here today, I have to confess I’m not ready for soup right now. But I love the recipe, Lea Ann, and have copied it. The last bowl of tortilla soup I had was in Cozumel. It was soooo good. So I’m looking forward to trying this next winter!

    As for spam. Yes, I’ve had it. Yes, I was served it as a child. WWII families ate it a lot. I also remember when we were in the Air Force in the 50’s someone gave me a recipe for a spam appetizer. It was served on a wooden skewer: a chunk of spam, chunk of dill pickle and chunk of cheese, alternating. Ugh.

    • I agree Barbara, 90 is a tad hot for soup. Even if it does have a cold dollop of sour cream and fresh avocado.

  4. Great dinner idea for a rainy day like today. Would you still have some left overs at your house? I’ll be there to pick them up in a bit. Could offer some dessert that I just finished.

    • Sorry, there’s not a drop of that soup left. 🙂

  5. It is 93 here today with humidity to match, so soup is the farthest thing from my mind. That being said, all those cool toppings look mighty tasty.

  6. Wow this looks wonderful! You have a wonderful site here.

  7. Under the influence of alcohol, I have tried darn near everything I would not normally touch.. I have not eaten land based insects, or worms…

    • I was under the influence when I ate a snail. Same as worms to me. Not eaten an insect (on purpose) 🙂

  8. Okay, you know that I eat soup no matter how hot it is. Nothing like a nice soup, especially if it’s spicy to sweat all the ick out. Sweatin’ anyway, so why not!? That said….YUM! Your version sounds great. I love the sound of the bitter orange seasoning. I’ll have to hunt that down. Thank you so much for joining me on my quest for “THE” Tortilla Soup. You Rock 😉

    • I’m not sure this is “THE” tortilla soup, but it’s really good. When I heated it up for left overs, I put the broken tortilla chips in the bottom of the bowl and then ladles the broth over. Liked that better.

  9. I just watched the movie last night. And have to agree – it’s never too hot for comfort food! And this looks fantastic! I’ve never eaten any of those things you mentioned – or snails, mussels, or raw clams.

    • Thanks Reeni. Unfortunately I once ate a snail.

  10. Oooh, you must have been getting vibes… I’ve been longing for tortilla soup! I’ve never eaten Spam before. Or Okra, which here in Texas is something close to blasphemy~

    • no okra…Texas???? Did you just type that outloud???? :-0

  11. You are so right! It is never too hot for comfort food! Yum!

  12. I have loved tortilla soup from the very first taste back in Texas. I know I want to try your recipe because you have included in it my favorite things: it sounds fantastic. I jut hope I can find poblanos in Beirut!

  13. In honor of this post: http://www.detritus.org/spam/skit.html

    I have had SPAM and actually liked it as a kid. Since then I’ve only had it once when I smoked it on a lark (well, on a whim, I did not smoke a lark topped with SPAM) after Jeannie did on her blog: http://cowgirlscountry.blogspot.com/2009/05/smoked-spam.html

    What have I not eaten? Haggis and tripe!

  14. I was pretty sure we had eel on our Suchi, correct me if I am wrong.

  15. I have never eaten Spam either, but do you remember Mr. Beasley down on the corner? His daughter was my best friend, we tore up that dirt road walking between our houses….when I walked up the path to their house he would always say, “Here comes Pam, I think I’ll have some SPAM.” May he rest in peace.

  16. I’ll have to save this recipe for the Fall. It is WAY TOO HOT to eat soup here. It was 87 degrees at 8:30 this morning and HUMID! I would swear that I live on the sun.

  17. I love Tortilla Soup (the soup and the movie) and your version looks delicious. Thanks so much for sending it to Souper Sundays. 😉

  18. Hey!! I’m back, finally!! I wish I’d known about the throwdown – I make a mean (as in SPICY) tortilla soup myself. I will love trying some of your ingredients next time I make a batch because yours looks and sounds delicious!
    There are very few foods I haven’t tried. I’ve never had the nerve to eat any kind of bug (that I know of), but I’ve eaten some stuff that’s just as strange. 🙂

    I hear you can skewer cubes of Spam with pineapple and grill it. Have you done anything with it?

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