When Tyler and I first started dating, I would get really nervous about cooking for him. He never did anything to make me feel this way (he’s actually super sweet when it comes to being my guinea pig), but it was important to me that he thought I was a good cook in order to deflect from my not being able to take out the trash or do laundry properly or fully understand taxes even though I’m an accountant.
Take, for instance, the time that he told me his favorite dish was Chicken Parmesan. I wanted so badly to make the best chicken parmesan that I spent five days in a row trying different recipes so that by the time he came back into town I’d have perfected his favorite meal.
(Ironically, eating 5 different chicken parmesan recipes in a row = not making chicken parmesan again for a very, very long time.)
And when I told him a few months later that I would be making a chicken tortilla soup, the VERY first thing out of his mouth was, “Nobody makes a better chicken tortilla soup than my mom.”
So there’s that.
And then we got married.
And then we spent Christmas with his family.
And then I had her chicken tortilla soup.
And then it allllll made sense.
Susan, my dear mother-in-law whom I adore, is an incredibly skilled cook (among so many other amazing attributes). Everything she makes is nothing short of delicious, and she has the ability to make healthy, restaurant-quality, multi-course meals while I’m sitting in the kitchen asking a million questions, all with a huge smile on her face.
It really was the best chicken tortilla soup I’ve ever had. The chicken was marinated overnight and then grilled. The broth had green chilies and Worcestershire and steak sauce, and it was topped with freshly fried corn tortilla strips and avocados, and after that first bowl I completely understood.
So when she shared her chicken tortilla soup recipe with me earlier this year, I waited until she made it again for Christmas Eve to photograph it. And here I am a couple years down the road and many bowls of soup later, happily posting it with the high hopes that maybe someday my son will tell his future wife, “my mom makes the very best chicken tortilla soup.”
- 1/4 cup Italian dressing
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 2 (14 oz) cans of chicken broth
- 1 (14 oz) can beef broth
- 1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tbsp steak sauce
- 6 corn tortillas
- 6 corn tortillas (plus oil for frying)
- 1 (10 oz) block of cheddar cheese, freshly grated
- 2 avocados, chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
- Marinade chicken breast for 2- 24 hours, then grill, and chop into small pieces. (If you don't have time for this step, you can use plain cooked chicken breast.)
- Cut 6 tortillas into fine strips, and fry until crisp in a small amount of oil. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, saute onions and garlic in oil until tender. Add cream of chicken soup and stir well. Add chicken broth slowly, stirring to prevent lumps. Add all other ingredients up to steak sauce and the cooked chicken, bring to a boil and simmer for one hour. Pulverize 6 tortillas in a food processor, add to the soup, and simmer for 10-20 minutes on low stirring often. Add the chicken and steak sauce. Serve warm with toppings.