Over the holidays, the boy and I met up with his family for a meal at The Common Grill in Chelsea, MI. He and his sisters all worked there at some point in their teens, so it is a bit of a tradition for them to go there for special occasions. I certainly can't object because the menu is fantastic with especially great fish selections. Eating there reminded me of a delicious soup I made from their cookbook last winter. It is perfect for this time of year when we all tend to recommit to eating healthier and packing in more veggies, all while staying cozy and warm. This is soup is loaded with vegetables and the topping truly makes it shine. You may be tempted to skip that step, but it is the thing that makes this recipe really special and only takes about five minutes.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Adapted from The Common Grill Cookbook
Makes 2 quarts.
1 1/2 Tb olive oil
1 small red onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1/2 large red pepper, diced
1/2 large yellow pepper, diced
1 Poblano chili pepper, diced
1 tsp fresh oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 Tb kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 28-oz can Italian plum tomatoes, chopped
5 cups chicken stock
1 lb. chicken, cooked and diced
6 6" corn tortillas
3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
2 tsp cilantro, chopped
2 tsp lemon zest
Heat olive oil over medium heat in heavy pot or dutch oven. Add red onion and cook until translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more. Stir in carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are soft, about 6 to 8 minutes. Thoroughly mix in peppers, oregano, cumin, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.
Stir in tomatoes and chicken stock. Turn up until until just begins to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes. Add diced chicken and continue cooking for 30 minutes more.
Meanwhile, cut tortillas into thin strips with scissors. Heat 1 Tb olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute strips until crispy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove to paper towel to drain.
Prepare cheese topping by combining three ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well.
Serve soup topped with a sprinkle of the cheese topping and fried tortilla strips.