Most of the time I'm a from scratch cook. I like things homemade whenever possible. But other times, I really just want to crack open some cans, add things to a pot and eat dinner. This chicken tortilla soup is a great compromise. 30 minutes to make, uses up lots of pre-made goods, and some fresh ingredients as well. Plus, I have to admit, this is one of those recipes I put together in my mind, tasting for spice, salt, and sweet, and was pleasantly surprised when the actual dish came out just as great as hoped for.
1 large yellow onion, sliced
1 cup salsa (Not pico de gallo. You want something with some garlic in it, maybe chipotles in adobo as well, some jalapeño. Really, any nice, pre-made salsa you've got on hand. You can even add 1/2 cup of two different kinds.)
1 24 oz can crushed tomatoes
5 cups chicken broth
4 corn tortillas
1 cup short grain rice
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (frozen is fine)
1 cup pre-cooked black beans
4 cups spinach, fresh
In a pot, saute the onion. When soft, add the salsa. Let cook for a few minutes, until the spices in the salsa become fragrant. Add the tomatoes and chicken broth. Add two good pinches salt. Stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, tear up two tortillas and add them to a blender. Ladle in two cups tomato-chicken broth and blend until tortillas are fully combined. Add tortilla broth back into the pot. Add rice and stir to combine. Slice the chicken thighs into 1/4 inch slices. (Tip: Slice the thighs when mostly frozen. This makes it much easier to get thin pieces). After the rice has cooked for about 5 minutes, add the chicken. Let cook another five minutes, then add the beans, spinach and juice from half a lime. Meanwhile, add 2 tablespoons oil to a small saute pan. Cut remaining tortillas into thin strips and add to saute pan when hot. Let brown, turning when needed. Let soup boil until chicken and rice are cooked through, perhaps another 5 minutes. Ladle into bowls and top with tortilla strips. Enjoy!