Chicken Tortilla Soup

January and February are tough months for cooking, because finding seasonal food is nearly impossible when you live in a cold snowy state. At this point, I start rationing my canned tomatoes from the summer’s bounty. Besides a good tomato soup, the other soup I love to make is chicken tortilla soup. It is a light soup that’s packed with flavor. The best part is all the different toppings you can add to the soup base to make it extra tasty. Each person can personalize their soup to their liking!

Chicken Tortilla Soup


  • 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 Anaheim pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 quart (32 ounces) canned tomatoes with juice
  • 4 – 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 pounds bone-in whole chicken legs (about 2 – 3 legs), skinned, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 dried chipotle pepper, seeds removed
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • In a pan over medium-high heat, sauté onions, garlic, Anaheim pepper, and ¾ teaspoon of salt until the onions are translucent and the other vegetables are soft. Transfer to the slow cooker.
  • Add the tomatoes with their juice, chicken broth, chicken legs, chipotle pepper, and several grinds of black pepper. Cover and cook on the low setting for 5 hours. The chicken should be tender and opaque throughout.
  • Transfer the chicken pieces to a plate. Remove the meat from the bones and discard the bones and any fat or gristle. Chop or shred the meat.
  • Return the meat to the slow cooker. If you want, you can add chopped spinach or chard at this point. Either way, check to see if you need to add more salt at this point and then cover and cook on the low-heat setting for about 15 minutes more to make sure the chicken is reheated.
  • Ladle soup into shallow bowls, serve with desired toppings and enjoy!


  • Possible toppings: diced avocado, crumbled queso fresco, chopped fresh cilantro, tortilla chips, thinly sliced spinach or chard, lime wedges, sour cream, black beans

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