As I've said time and time again, we eat a lot of soups in our house. It's a perfect medium to throw all kinds of veggies into which get happily eaten unnoticed. And all of my boys (even the biggest one) love anything they can dip tortilla chips into. I'm pretty sure Matt would eat this or Black Bean Salsa Soup every single night if I let him.
There are a TON of different ways you can make tortilla soup but two interesting things about this recipe are the addition of cornmeal and okra. The cornmeal gives the soup a nice texture and rounds out the flavors. Also combining a bean with a whole grain makes a complete protein. Okra is a vegetable that people don't often think about unless they're frying it. I'll admit that until we moved down south I had never heard of it. Back when I was first making baby food for Colwynn I learned that Okra is actually a power packed green vegetable and it also thickens the soup nicely. No one in my house is very fond of slices of okra in soup, though, so I cook it and puree it before stirring it in.
Update: Instead of precooking and pureeing the okra now, I just cook it right in the soup and then puree it after I take the chicken out to shred it
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion (any kind will do)
- ½ cup diced bell pepper (any color)
- 2 cups sliced okra (I use frozen)
- 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 15 oz can diced tomatoes
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste
- 4 cups water
- 2 15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed well
- ¼ cup whole grain cornmeal
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 5 wholegrain corn tortillas, cut into strips (optional)
ONE: Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onions, pepper, okra, garlic, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt. Cook 5 minutes or until veggies begin to soften.
TWO: Add in diced tomatoes, chicken stock, tomato paste, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Add in chicken breasts and cornmeal and cook, uncovered, 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Stir every few minutes for the first 10 minutes, scraping the bottom, to make sure the cornmeal doesn't settle to the bottom and stick.
THREE: Remove chicken from pot. If you don't want chunks of okra, use an immersion blender to puree the soup mixture still in the pot. Allow soup to continue simmering while you shred the chicken using two forks.
FOUR: Return shredded chicken to pot, add the beans, and let simmer another 5 minutes until heated through. Remove from heat, and let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving. If using tortilla strips, stir them in 5 minutes before serving.
Serve garnished with sliced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, fresh cilantro, a drizzle of lime juice, or even a spoonful of plain yogurt. My boys like to dip tortilla chips into it instead of having the corn tortillas stirred in. Freeze leftovers in 1 cup portions using the medium/large portions method to feed your freezer stash.
Per 1-cup serving without tortilla strips or garnishes - 190 Calories (35 Calories from Fat), 4g Total Fat, 1g Saturated Fat, 27mg Cholesterol, 397mg Sodium, 22g Carbohydrates, 6g Dietary Fiber, 4g Sugars, 15g Protein, 11% DV Vitamin A, 27% DV Vitamin C, 5% DV Calcium, 39% DV Iron