Not just any chicken soup, but a slow cooker chicken tortilla soup! Hot and delicious and ready to enjoy for dinner tonight. Who wants some?
What do I love more than Mexican tortilla soup? A tortilla soup that I can make in the slow cooker! I have to admit, the fried tortilla strips in that warm broth are my favorite. This recipe for slow cooker chicken tortilla soup is adapted from a traditional Mexican sopa azteca.
Chicken, tomatoes, dried chiles and tortillas are all staple ingredients in traditional Mexican food. With a little help from the slow cooker you can still enjoy those home-style flavors. The slow-cooked chicken soup base is delicious on its own. But then you add those tasty garnishes and it's outstanding!
To the slow cooker, add the chicken, water, bay leaves, thyme, cilantro, 1/2 of the onion, 2 cloves of garlic, salt and pepper. Cover and turn heat to high.
In a large skillet, add oil and heat to medium. Add the tomatoes, remaining onion and garlic. Saute for 5-7 minutes, turning as needed. Add half of the pasilla peppers. Saute for another 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of water to the pan and cook at a steady simmer for 5 minutes.
Carefully, transfer contents of skillet into the blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Blend on high until smooth. Strain, using a wire-mesh strainer, into a bowl. Set aside.
Add the remaining pasilla peppers to a skillet. Drizzle with a generous amount oil and turn heat to medium. As soon as the peppers become aromatic, turn and fry until crispy. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Reserve. Crush before serving.
After about 3 hours, the chicken should be cooked through. Skim off any foam off the top. Remove the bay leaves, thyme, cilantro, onion and garlic. Discard.
Add the strained tomato/chile sauce to the slow cooker. Stir well to combine. Add the epazote and oregano. Taste for salt and pepper.
Remove the skin and bones from the chicken. Tear into large pieces and add back to slow cooker. Cook for another 30 minutes.
To serve, add a generous handful of fried tortilla strips to the bottom of bowl. Ladle in some of the chicken and broth, enough to cover tortilla strips. Garnish with a few more strips, cheese, avocado, crema, fried chile pasilla and lime.
If you want to add more tortilla flavor to your soup base, take some of the fried tortilla strips and blend them well with some chicken broth. Add this mixture to your soup base as it cooks!