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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Chicken Tortilla Soup (Gluten-Free)

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    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.


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    I made this last year for a mom who has celiac. She had just had a baby and I wanted to take her something filling. I made a double batch for her family and ours. It was awesome. I have craved it ever since and now it is finally getting cooler. I can't wait to make this again.

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    Great soup. I omitted the beans and hominy (didn't have), put the onions in the blender (for the kids), and sautéed with garlic and spices. I then put all the ingredients in the crockpot with raw chicken breast, and it cooked up great. I added extra corn at the end when I shredded the chicken. Great with cilantro, lime, sour cream, cheese and chips in the bowl. Will make it again.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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