Nearly Famous Chicken Tortilla Soup

Scars and Soup~

I have a small scar between my eyes. It’s a pock-mark really. Only the most attentive surveyor would notice it, but I notice. Every day.

I went to a skin clinic to consider having it removed. The doctor told me that 3 simple laser treatments would render my little indentation obsolete. Amazing, for less than $250 a scar-free face! I went home to think about it, and had a mini-revelation.

Scars are a sign of healing and growth. Every scar represents a life lesson.

The pock-mark between my eyes, a valuable lesson to a nine-year-old, NOT to hold a parakeet so close to your face when you’re sick with the chickenpox! The marks on my forearm represent an education in keeping my elbows up when I reach into the oven. The crater of my ankle cautions me to wear long pants when walking through thick barbed-wire laden fields. The tiny slash on my finger prompts me to keep my fingers curled back while chopping carrots for tortilla soup! These lessons are all BRANDED on my body.. and in my mind.

Internal scars are the same. We’ve all been wounded by loved ones, harsh realities and disappointments. But as long as these wounds don’t remain open, as long as we allow them to heal, not fester, we are showing signs of growth. We are becoming stronger, healthier. We are developing character.

I have scares from people in my past, that act as tokens of how to handle future relationships. I have scars from being overlooked for promotion; they produced a deep work ethic. There are even scars I’ve inflicted on myself that now stand as a memento to hold and protect a healthy self-image! They are all symbols of maturity and therefore utterly priceless.

So I think I’m going to keep it my little pock-mark. I can now look at a scar as a thing of beauty!

It would seem that everyone has their own version of  chicken tortilla soup. Some are thick and cheesy; some thin and watery. I prefer a thin, but not watery, broth-based chicken tortilla soup with LOTS of veggies and toppings. I developed this recipe years ago and would venture to say it is my MOST requested recipe. Both to personal friends or blog readers, I email this recipe constantly!

So here it is, ASP’s nearly famous Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe, have at it!

I’ve also adapted this dish to fit into “The 4 Hour BodySlow Carb Diet. Omit the cheese and tortilla chips~it’s STILL completely wonderful!


In a large stock pot, heat the oil over high.  Add onions, 1/3 cup cilantro and garlic, sauté 3 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and spices, then bring to a boil.

Add the broth, carrots and chicken.  Return to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook another 10-12 minutes.

Stir in half the cheese and 1 cup crushed tortilla chips.

Ladle into soup bowls and top with remaining cheese, fresh cilantro, fresh avocado, and more tortilla chip pieces. Serves 4+.

*This is a great recipe to use up leftover chicken or a rotisserie chicken.  Just add it in at the very end to warm it up!

It’s a shallow life that doesn’t give a person a few scars. ~Garrison Keillor


Yield: 4+

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Chicken Tortilla Soup


2 Tb. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
1 14 ½ oz. cans diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
¾ Tb. cumin
½ Tb. chili powder
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1-2 bay leaves
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 skinless chicken breasts, halved and thinly sliced
¾ tsp. salt
Pepper to taste
1 ½ cups shredded Monterey jack or cheddar cheese
1-2 avocados, diced
Bag of tortilla chips


In a large stock pot, heat the oil over high. Add onions, 1/3 cup cilantro and garlic, sauté 3 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and spices, then bring to a boil.

Add the broth, carrots and chicken. Return to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook another 10-12 minutes.

Stir in half the cheese and 1 cup crushed tortilla chips.

Ladle into bowls and top with remaining cheese, fresh cilantro, fresh avocado, and more tortilla chip pieces.

*This is a great recipe to use up leftover chicken or a rotisserie chicken. Just add it in at the very end to warm it up. **To make this a 4 Hour Body "slow carb diet" recipe, omit the tortilla chips and cheese. It's still awesome!

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60 Responses to “Nearly Famous Chicken Tortilla Soup”

  1. #
    Nisrine|Dinners & Dreams — January 26, 2011 @ 8:20 pm

    Lovely. With the avicado and cheese on top, it is simply perfect. Have a wonderful night!


  2. #
    Blog is the New Black — January 26, 2011 @ 8:29 pm

    GORGEOUS photos! I love chicken tortilla soup- and the avocado is a GREAT addition.


  3. #
    Belinda @zomppa — January 26, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

    Scars are stories to tell! Oh, wow, and that’s quite a story. This soup is a thing of beauty!


  4. #
    Apicius' Apprentice — January 26, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

    I wish the avocados at our local Teeter didn’t taste like cardboard right now! I would be all over this soup. Looks delicious, Sommer!


  5. #
    Michelle — January 26, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

    Sommer the pictures are beautiful !!! I am making this for next week.Thanks!!!


  6. #
    Debbie B. — January 26, 2011 @ 8:59 pm

    I have a scar on my face too :) :). Hit by a half a brick on the playground as a kid and needed to get stitches! I hated it growing up, but now I look at it as making me unique :).


  7. #
    Aldy — January 26, 2011 @ 9:39 pm

    Hi Sommer, First of all, I just want to say that I love the new look of your blog. ” BEAUTIFUL” . Great job! Your Chicken Tortilla Soup looks absolutely delicious .And with the avocados…wow! my mouth is watering now :)

    Cheers from NZ,



  8. #
    rebecca — January 26, 2011 @ 10:07 pm

    love this soup and great and moving post


  9. #
    claire — January 26, 2011 @ 10:31 pm

    Ah! Yay! I am so excited! I never win anything!
    On another note- this soup looks delicious! Chicken tortilla soup is one of my favorites. Also, I agrees with you about scars- they are a reminder of the past and all we have been thru… The good the bad and the ugly!


  10. #
    Jill Colonna — January 27, 2011 @ 2:06 am

    Your photos just have these aromas leaping out my computer screen!


  11. #
    Katerina — January 27, 2011 @ 2:41 am

    Every wrinkle and and every mark inside and outside of my body represents an experience to me as well, good or bad. I don’t want to erase all these memories from my body because I feel I erase them from my life. I want them to be there and remind me of those moments. I can understand why everyone asks for this soup, it looks delicious.


  12. #
    Michael Stephen Wills — January 27, 2011 @ 5:12 am

    Excellent presentation, Sommer.


  13. #
    The Food Hound — January 27, 2011 @ 7:36 am

    I know tortilla soup is such a popular recipe, but whenever I see pictures of it, it looks so bland and unappealing! Not the case with yours!! I can’t wait to print this out and try it! We love Mexican Chez Hound!


  14. #
    Lea Ann — January 27, 2011 @ 8:10 am

    Tortilla soup is one of my favorites. Beautiful photos.


  15. #
    Lindsay @Eat, Knit, Grow — January 27, 2011 @ 8:47 am

    Yum!! That looks amazing! One of my favorites!


  16. #
    Steve @ HPD — January 27, 2011 @ 9:22 am

    “God will not look you over for medals degrees or diplomas, but for scars”.
    ~ Elbert Hubbard


    • Sommer — January 30th, 2011 @ 9:05 pm

      That’s a good one!


  17. #
    Laura @ Family Spice — January 27, 2011 @ 9:33 am

    And the wrinkles starting to appear on my face are laugh lines! Well, that’s what I tell myself! I’m not a soup fan, but I ADORE chicken tortilla soup. I think it’s because of all the fixings.


  18. #
    Monet — January 27, 2011 @ 10:30 am

    What a great reflection…I love how you moved from bodily scars to internal scars. Very poignant! And then of course, this soup looks amazing! I love all the fresh ingredients…the chips…the avocado. Too good!


  19. #
    Sara — January 27, 2011 @ 10:33 am

    I’m with you! Scars, wrinkles and any other signs are signs of life and experience…the experience I bet you needed for this chicken tortilla soup! It really looks wonderful. I’m in love with the colors of this soup. So heart-warming (and stomach warming!)


  20. #
    Gabby@FoodChowDown — January 27, 2011 @ 10:36 am

    this looks so hearty and yummy. it reminds me of the chicken tortilla soup that I had at Yardhouse.


  21. #
    5 Star Foodie — January 27, 2011 @ 11:53 am

    Your chicken tortilla soup sounds super delicious, gorgeous presentation too!


  22. #
    Kate @ — January 27, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

    Lovely post!! I have that scar inbetween my eyebrows … and it’s from chickenpox! I picked it and picked it till it bled and got a scar from it. Nobody sees it, but I know it’s there…I know what you mean. :)

    The tortilla soup looks incredible – I love the variety that you’ve used and the result of a colorful, flavorful meal.


  23. #
    Sommer J — January 27, 2011 @ 2:22 pm

    I haven’t made this yet, and I am not sure why! It’s flavors my children all love! Gorgeous soup. I have a scar on my cheek….but I love what you said- “scars are a sign of healing” nice :)


  24. #
    pigpigscorner — January 27, 2011 @ 4:02 pm

    Scars are memories too! The soup sounds fab. Great photos!


  25. #
    Christina @ Sweet Pea's Kitchen — January 27, 2011 @ 5:12 pm

    Hahaha…I was actually thinking to myself that I wanted to make a chicken tortilla soup! This looks delicious!! I can’t wait to give it a try! :)


  26. #
    Laura — January 27, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

    Sommer! Love your new site, but what I’m really here to say is that I made this tonight last minute with rotisserie chicken in less than 1/2 an hour (after sending Brian to the store) and we loved it! The crushed tortilla chips and fresh cilantro were amazing. This is a new simple favorite. ( : xo


    • Sommer — January 27th, 2011 @ 7:53 pm

      Oh Laura, I’m so glad you liked it! Last night I tweeted about my “nearly famous” soup and several local friends responded that it was famous in our circle. TWO different families reported they were actually having it for dinner last night!


  27. #
    Kocinera — January 27, 2011 @ 8:07 pm

    I loooove tortilla soup! However, I’ve never actually made it at home! Your version looks so delicious, and I love all the toppings, too.


  28. #
    Nana — January 27, 2011 @ 8:30 pm

    I had just printed off another Chicken Tortilla Soup to try when you posted yours. So tonight I tried your recipe and it is definitely a winner. We loved every flavor and it tasted so fresh. Thanks Sommer…this soup is definitely a winner and so easy to make.


  29. #
    Lora @cakeduchess — January 27, 2011 @ 9:37 pm

    I think scars rock. Now internal scars…not so much. But they are lessons learned. Great post Sommer. Even better SOUP! This looks fabulous!


  30. #
    A Canadian Foodie — January 27, 2011 @ 9:38 pm

    You are using my green pot, again! I can feel some warm shivers of motivation coming on, here! I will be putting this recipe on my to make list and you just may find yourself headlining my site someday soon… depending on how fast I get my act together. This sounds YUMMY and your photographs as to PERFECT and quietly sophisticated, thoughtful, elegant and definitely celebrate the fresh ingredients used to make this dish.
    Big hug to you today.
    The colour of your site is such a pleasure to open (but there are these two big bare feet – beautifully manicured) on the advertisement right beside your bowl of soup that is a touch off putting)


  31. #
    Eileen — January 27, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

    Sommer, Thanks for the Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe. It sounds wonderful. I love your story too. I have a small scar on my forehead from a bike accident when I was a kid. I blamed the accident on a neighbor boy – I lied he didn’t have anything to do with it. My mom was so upset she paid his mother a visit. A couple stitches, and hours later, he showed up at our door with flowers for me. YIKES! I’d say that scar of mine is well deserved :)


  32. #
    Jay — January 27, 2011 @ 11:42 pm

    wonderful post…sounds awesome…
    Tasty appetite


  33. #
    Felice - All That's Left Are The Crumbs — January 28, 2011 @ 1:21 am

    Love your photos! The soup looks so vibrant and alive.


  34. #
    Angie's Recipes — January 28, 2011 @ 3:41 am

    Sommer, the soup looks so comforting, that I wish I could have a large bowl right now!


  35. #
    Dmarie — January 28, 2011 @ 9:15 am

    wow, the recipe looks great, and love your reflections on the scars that make us who we are. very thought-provoking. thx!


  36. #
    Fresh and Foodie — January 28, 2011 @ 11:24 am

    I can see why it’s a requested recipe — it looks delicious! I’m not a big soup person but I really like tortilla soup. Yours looks fab.


  37. #
    Nourhan @ Miss Anthropist's Kitchen — January 28, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

    Great job, this looks SO good!


  38. #
    Aipi — January 28, 2011 @ 1:47 pm

    Perfect dinner for these cold evenings..loved those avocado chunks :)


  39. #
    Suchitra — January 28, 2011 @ 3:25 pm

    I loved the look of your new website- awesome!The dish looks tasty and delicious..


  40. #
    Ang — January 28, 2011 @ 4:05 pm

    Don’t cut yourself short. This is totally famous:) Great reminder that our scars are our testimony. Our proof that we are living. Great post!


  41. #
    Rosa — January 28, 2011 @ 8:00 pm

    A scrummy soup & great meal idea!




  42. #
    Gourmande — January 29, 2011 @ 6:53 am

    Superb dish.
    I like your story. I have tiny scars due to a little illness inside my arm. When they were fresh I was really mad about it, I didn’t wear short sleeves that year, I even had sorts of gloves. I had to wait before I could have them removed. Later when the dermatologist reminded me I planned to do the laser, I said : ” NO ! I keep them.”. They are now part of me and whenever I see them, they remind me of the holidays with friends when I was hiding my arm.


  43. #
    Liz — January 30, 2011 @ 6:58 am

    Such a gorgeous bowl of soup…I can see why you get so many requests. And I love your take on scars…so insightful…


  44. #
    Annie — January 30, 2011 @ 9:29 am

    I love chicken tortilla soup but have never made it myself. Yours looks so delicious that I think its time I tried! Btw, you won my Isaly’s giveaway! Congratulations! Please send me your address at so I canget that out to you!


  45. #
    Kristen — January 30, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

    That soup looks so good with the avocado and chips. I love soups that are so hearty (but that make you want a couple of bowls full because they taste so good!)


  46. #
    Stella — January 30, 2011 @ 5:12 pm

    I like your pock mark, Sommer! And I like even more that you are going to keep it;-)
    Hey, this soup looks awesome. I love the step by step photos-they are so enticing. Plus, they make me want your Le Creuset looking Cauldron (smile). Ooh, and that bottom photo is killer by the way. Just lovely!


  47. #
    denise @ bread expectations — January 30, 2011 @ 9:05 pm

    Scars are badges of honour and they don’t give those out to just anyone! I wear mine with pride ;)

    LOVE your gorgeous soup and how I know it will stick to my ribs. It’s been raining continuously for about 28 straight hours now, I’m shivering in my robe and slippers and I tell you, I could really use a bowl of it right NOW!!


  48. #
    sweetlife — January 31, 2011 @ 11:28 am

    I prefer my childhood scars to my adult scars, lol..but with a bowl of this goregous soup, my scars would quickly fade..great recipe!



  49. #
    Launie — February 3, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

    That soup looks fantastic!


  50. #
    Sara — February 7, 2011 @ 7:04 am

    I think if you can reflect like that, you can get the scar removed and still remain the great, lesson-learning person that you are. You will just look at where the scar used to be and think of the words you wrote above in addition to your nine-year-old-self. You won’t just have to think of pox and birds, you can think of being emotionally healthy, and a self-reflective person.You will get two lessons from one scar. Not too shabby :)


  51. #
    megan — November 4, 2011 @ 7:29 pm

    absolutely delicious soup!!! added some roasted red peppers….wonderful. thanks :)


  52. #
    Navi — March 29, 2012 @ 6:36 pm

    Going to make this tonight, have all of the ingredients gathered and its a perfect overcast day for some tortilla soup! Will post about how it turns out. Wish me luck!!!


  53. #
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — October 16, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

    I love chicken tortilla soup, this looks amazing! Glad you posted it on you FB page :).


  54. #
    Megan — January 22, 2014 @ 7:24 pm

    Thank you for this delicious recipe. I found it over a year ago when I was searching for a thin tortilla soup. I have made it at least 10 times since, and am making it again tonight. It’s one of my favorites!!! Thank you :)


  55. #
    Susan Stonick — May 18, 2014 @ 6:47 pm

    This is excellent! Wanted a little more veggies, so did add extra carrots, celery, corn and black beans. Wonderful!!!!



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