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Smiling Jack’s Chicken Tortilla Soup

Recipe from Johnny Downs, owner, Johnny Mac’s, Vista

"We are selling it in jars to take home." - Image by Warren Price/iStock/Thinkstock
"We are selling it in jars to take home."

Chicken tortilla soup is an excellent idea for an entrée or side dish, especially for the holidays. It's hearty enough to be a meal.

I'm not a chef — I'm a restaurant operator — so this recipe came together through trial and error. I was trying to come up with something original because we are not a cookie-cutter kind of place. I wanted something that was different, bold, and hearty. It took a couple of weeks, and we finally hit it. It's a little spicy, and our customers love it. We are selling it in jars to take home.

It's very easy to make and the ingredients are accessible. The spices required can be found at any market.

If I were serving this as an entrée, I would have a glass of wine with it. Chardonnay or Cabernet will work, but since I'm a Cabernet drinker, I would serve an Annabella Cabernet, or a Steven Bannus -- both are easy drinking and would go great with the soup.

HOW TO DO IT

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake chicken breasts for 25 minutes. (Meanwhile, start the soup.) Cool, skin, shred, and season chicken with chicken seasoning and then reserve. Purée the olive oil, green pepper, and onion in a blender. Combine all ingredients except the shredded chicken, and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer until heated. Serve in large bowls topped with crisp crumbled tortilla chips and grated cheese. We serve it with shredded pepper jack and cheddar cheese.

This recipe serves 12 to 15 generously.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon chicken seasoning (Chef Merito)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced1 small onion, diced
  • 2 32-ounce boxes 99 percent fat-free chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Louisiana-style hot sauce (such as Louisiana brand)
  • 2 tablespoons seasoning salt (Trade Winds)
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 diced tomato
  • 5 stems fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • Crisp tortilla chips and grated cheeses (e.g., jack or pepper jack, cheddar), garnish as desired

By Johnny Downs, Owner, Johnny Mac’s, Vista

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"We are selling it in jars to take home." - Image by Warren Price/iStock/Thinkstock
"We are selling it in jars to take home."

Chicken tortilla soup is an excellent idea for an entrée or side dish, especially for the holidays. It's hearty enough to be a meal.

I'm not a chef — I'm a restaurant operator — so this recipe came together through trial and error. I was trying to come up with something original because we are not a cookie-cutter kind of place. I wanted something that was different, bold, and hearty. It took a couple of weeks, and we finally hit it. It's a little spicy, and our customers love it. We are selling it in jars to take home.

It's very easy to make and the ingredients are accessible. The spices required can be found at any market.

If I were serving this as an entrée, I would have a glass of wine with it. Chardonnay or Cabernet will work, but since I'm a Cabernet drinker, I would serve an Annabella Cabernet, or a Steven Bannus -- both are easy drinking and would go great with the soup.

HOW TO DO IT

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake chicken breasts for 25 minutes. (Meanwhile, start the soup.) Cool, skin, shred, and season chicken with chicken seasoning and then reserve. Purée the olive oil, green pepper, and onion in a blender. Combine all ingredients except the shredded chicken, and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer until heated. Serve in large bowls topped with crisp crumbled tortilla chips and grated cheese. We serve it with shredded pepper jack and cheddar cheese.

This recipe serves 12 to 15 generously.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon chicken seasoning (Chef Merito)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced1 small onion, diced
  • 2 32-ounce boxes 99 percent fat-free chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Louisiana-style hot sauce (such as Louisiana brand)
  • 2 tablespoons seasoning salt (Trade Winds)
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 diced tomato
  • 5 stems fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • Crisp tortilla chips and grated cheeses (e.g., jack or pepper jack, cheddar), garnish as desired

By Johnny Downs, Owner, Johnny Mac’s, Vista

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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