The Pioneers of Chester County: Chicken Tortilla Soup

My friend had the great idea of reuniting our limoncello crew to make something a little more family friendly, and I was all for it! We decided to go with a soup, and The Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Tortilla Soup seemed to get high marks based on the almost 500 comments on her blog. Not jealous. Really, I’m not. She’s great. But if you want to make any comments here, I sure wouldn’t mind…

We gathered in my friend’s beautiful kitchen, pots in hand, and got to work tripling the recipe. Can you believe I’ve never had chicken tortilla soup? Or ANY tortilla soup? I am always amazed at how little I know about the world.

Three pots for three friends

Picking apart boneless chicken, just like Laura Ingalls Wilder

Beans and Rotel

The final, delicious product.

The verdict: I am calling this soup a success. There were a grand total of fifteen of us who ate this soup for dinner tonight. All three of the husbands loveloveloved it. All three of us pioneer women of Chester County loved it, too. Three children liked it well enough. Two children cried about it. One picky eater ate a small amount. And two boys were too busy with sports to try it as of this publishing, but my prediction is that they will like it. While the soup is very flavorful (one of my son’s called it a burrito in a bowl), I think the toppings really make it shine. Cilantro is a must (unless you think it tastes like soap) and cheese and sour cream and avocado, too.

The Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Tortilla Soup (original printable recipe here)


  • 2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1-½ teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • ½ teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Diced Onion
  • ¼ cups Diced Green Bell Pepper
  • ¼ cups Red Bell Pepper
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 can (10 Oz. Can) Rotel Tomatoes And Green Chilies
  • 32 ounces, fluid Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 4 cups Hot Water
  • 2 cans (15 Oz. Can) Black Beans, Drained
  • 3 Tablespoons Cornmeal Or Masa
  • 5 whole Corn Tortillas, Cut Into Uniform Strips Around 2 To 3 Inches
  • _____
  • Sour Cream
  • Diced Avocado
  • Diced Red Onion
  • Salsa Or Pico De Gallo
  • Grated Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Cilantro

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix.

Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Use two forks to shred chicken. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, red pepper, green pepper, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the rest of the spice mix. Stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir.

Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered.

Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Check seasonings, adding more if needed—add more chili powder if it needs more spice, and be sure not to undersalt. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Five minutes before serving, gently stir in tortilla strips.

Ladle into bowls, then top with sour cream, diced red onion, diced avocado, pico de gallo, and grated cheese, if you have it! (The garnishes really make the soup delicious.)