The finished chicken tortilla soup. Photo: CC-savemejeebus
When I was in Guanajuato, Mexico, years back, the woman who cooked at the house where I was a guest prepared the most delicious chicken tortilla soup.

Pieces of juicy chicken, corn, hominy and, of course, tortillas, came together in a creamy, rich, tomatoey, cumin-laced broth. The soup was so good, I remember going back for seconds and more. I found myself counting the days until she would make it again. So began my love affair with this satisfying Mexican delicacy.

Later, I was please to find a Yucatan-style Mexican restaurant in my San Francisco neighborhood that could satisfy my regular cravings. Sadly, the restaurant is no more. But, my cravings for tortilla soup endure. Thus began my quest for a good, easy, reliable recipe that I could turn to when my chicken tortilla soup craving struck next.

This recipe makes enough to serve eight to ten people.

Ingredients:
2 boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 large can crushed tomatoes (28 ounce)
1 quart chicken broth
1 cup water
1 cup whole corn kernels, cooked
1-2 cans whole pinto or white beans, drained, pureed (optional)
1 cup white hominy
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
juice from 3 limes
2 boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
8 ounces broken tortilla chips (high quality, home made-style)
1 avocado, sliced
4 green onions, chopped fine
½ cup Cotija cheese, crumbled
Lime wedges

Directions:
Add oil to a large soup pot, and heat to medium. Add onion and garlic in oil until soft. Stir in chili powder, oregano, cumin, tomatoes, broth, and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in corn, hominy, chiles, cilantro, bean puree, and chicken. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. For thicker soup, add more bean puree, for thinner soup, add less or none at all.  I've made it both ways, and prefer the thicker, creamier version with beans, but the choice is yours. You can wait until the soup is done to add try a bit with and without bean puree, and decide then. Just make sure the bean puree cooks into the soup a bit.

Allow soup to cool slightly, and serve individual bowls. Top with broken tortilla chips, avocado slices, crumbled cheese, and chopped green onion. Serve lime wedges on the side.

This soup goes great with your favorite gluten-free beer.

As always, Celiac.com welcomes your comments (see below).