Chicken Tortilla Soup

Prep Time: 45 min Cook Time: 30 min
Servings: 6 Skill Level: easy

Sweet Potato Chicken Tortilla Soup

Brick-red broth, black beans, sweet potatoes, and chicken breast make a simple, nourishing tortilla soup topped with all the fixings. Use vegetable broth and leave off the chicken for a hearty vegetarian version.


For the soup:

  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) sunflower oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or Mexican oregano
  • 1 medium-sized jewel or garnet sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 (14-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1-3 teaspoons chipotle puree (depending on spice preference; or
  • 1-2 chipotles in adobo, seeded and chopped)
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (more if needed)
  • 1/2 cup Pearls or Early California Black Ripe Olives
  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken (such as from a rotisserie chicken)
  • Salt (if needed, to taste, dependent on saltiness of stock)

For Garnish:

  • 6 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut in thirds, then cut into strips
  • 2-4 tablespoons sunflower oil, as needed
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt, as needed
  • Pearls California Ripe Sliced Black Olives
  • Large handful cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2-4 ounces queso fresco, cotija, or feta cheese crumbled
  • 2 medium avocados, firm-ripe, peeled, seeded, and sliced

Cooking Instructions

  1. In a large, heavy soup pot, warm the oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, and salt, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the sweet potatoes, stock, chipotle, tomatoes, and beans. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer and cook, partially covered, until the sweet potatoes are tender but still holding a shape, 20-30 minutes. Stir in the olives.
  2. Taste, adding more salt or chipotle if you like.
  3. While the soup simmers, make the tortilla strips: Heat a thin layer of oil in a wide, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add enough tortilla strips to fit in a single layer and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring and tossing occasionally, until golden and crisp, 2-3 minutes. Remove and let drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining tortilla strips and oil.
  4. In a small, non-reactive bowl, stir together the diced red onion, lime juice, and a big pinch of salt. Let sit until the soup is ready to serve, at least 5 minutes.
  5. Just before serving, stir in the chicken. Ladle the soup into bowls Garnish with a nest of tortilla strips, avocado slices, queso fresco, cilantro, and olives. Sprinkle with the pickled red onion and drizzle the lime juice over the top.
  6. Extra soup keeps well, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.

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