Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Amazing Gour-Maybe Homemade Tortilla Soup

Growing up in Texas, I have had, shall we say, MORE than my fair share of tortilla soup. Maybe 150 bowls? Maybe 200? I could eat it every day. And with this recipe, you might want to as well. I'm on a mission to get everyone across the country to experience this classic (or at least classic in my neck of the woods!) There are so many different variations, from the almost clear, reddish tomato broth with hunks of veggies and chicken, to the thicker, heartier versions with more of a stew-like base. Some add rice, beans, even corn. As long as you have tortillas and chicken in there, you are free to make it your own! I love the flavors, and since I love to garnish as anyone will attest, any soup with more than 5 garnish options per serving is on my favorite list. This tortilla soup is the product of a lifetime of experimentation. I love the heat, the complexity of flavors, and the colorful presentation. It's perfect Gour-Maybe fare, because it seems like just soup, but after that first bite - it's just an explosion of flavor. Make the stock ahead and the rest of the process just takes an hour. You can serve this for your family and have plenty of leftovers - but not for long. Get all the soup secrets after the jump.

Amazing, Gour-Maybe Homemade Tortilla Soup
  • 6  T vegetable oil 
  • 6 corn tortillas, chopped into 1" pieces
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 10 small cherry tomatoes, whole
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 2.5 T ground cumin
  • 1.5 T chili powder
  • 3 bay leaves
  •  8 cups homemade chicken stock*Recipe follows, plus more to adjust thickness (warm)
  • 1 T kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper 
  • 1 whole chicken, boiled and shredded *from stock below
  • 1 whole chicken, appx 4 lbs
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 1 yellow onion, cut in large chunks
  • 1 red onion, cut in large chunks
  • 5 carrots, cut in half
  • 8 celery stalks, cut in half
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Garnishes:  (I use all of the below)
  • shredded jack or cheddar cheese
  • diced avocado 
  • green onion/scallions, chopped
  • cilantro
  • sour cream (optional) 
  • chili powder 
  • corn tortillas, sliced into strips and fried crisp

First make the stock. You can do this ahead or the night before. Add all stock ingredients to a large stockpot, cover with water. Bring to boil, cover, and simmer for 2 hours. Let cool 30 minutes. Shred light and dark meat and set aside. Reserve stock and set aside or refrigerate overnight. If you chill it overnight, then warm stock in a large stockpot before adding to the recipe. In a second large enamel or iron or non-stick stockpot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the tortillas, garlic, cilantro, both bell peppers and onion, cooking for 5 minutes, or until onions have become translucent. Add the tomatoes, the tomato paste, and the diced tomatoes, and bring mixture to boiling/bubbling.  Add cumin, chili powder, kosher salt and bay leaves, and stir vigorously to combine. Add homemade chicken stock and return to a boil. Reduce heat. Transfer half of the soup to a blender (if you have a Vitamix, even better) and puree on medium speed, until fairly smooth. Add puree back to stockpot. This gives a nice texture - a thickened base mixed with the remaining broth and veggies. Add more chicken stock to thin it out. I prefer this style of tortilla soup with a thicker base. Add cayenne and simmer for an additional 45 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and stir in shredded chicken (NOTE - YOU DO NOT BY LAW HAVE TO USE ALL THE CHICKEN. ADD GRADUALLY TO THE CONSISTENCY YOU LIKE. Garnish with cheese, onions, chili powder, cilantro and avocado, plus sour cream and fried tortillas if you want - and I suggest you want! Enjoy.


  1. Made the soup this weekend. It was awesome.

  2. Thanks "Anonymous"! I am so glad you like it. Don't know where you are from, but to me, this thicker style of tortilla soup just can't be beat. I think using the homemade stock is the best way to get amazing flavor, but in a pinch, you could use regular stock as well. Hope you spread the word about Gour-Maybe!