Tex-Mex Tortilla Soup

It’s not cold in ATL today but in my Texas hometown, they are welcoming lots of snow. Snow and cold weather makes me want soup. Here’s a little Tex-Mex Tortilla Soup I made a few weeks ago. You probably have most items on hand already. This soup was different from my go-to Tortilla Soup because of the yummy rice and black beans. Everyone needs options! Enjoy and stay warm! -Amanda

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Tex-Mex Tortilla Soup

3 T olive oil, divided
coarse salt and fresh black pepper
1 lb. boneless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
1 small white onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup black olives, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 + 1/2 t chile powder
1 t dried Mexican oregano
1/2 t dried thyme
15 oz canned black beans, drained
1/2 cup uncooked long or medium-grain brown rice, rinsed well in a wire strainer with cold water
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup salsa
Optional Toppings:
sliced avocados
shredded Monterey Jack cheese
sour cream
tortilla chips

In a large soup pan, heat 1 T of oil over medium heat. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan, stirring often so all sides get browned. Remove and set aside.
Add 2 T of oil to a soup pot over medium-low heat. Sauté the onion, pepper, garlic, and olives together for 5 minutes. Add a little pepper and stir often. Mix in the chile powder, oregano, thyme, black beans, and rice, cook 3 minutes. Stir the chicken back into the pot and add the broth and salsa. Bring to a simmer and cook 30 minutes. Stir often. Add seasonings to taste. (OR add to crock pot and keep on low until ready to dinner.)
Serve with toppings like, cheese, sour cream, sliced avocado, and tortilla chips if desired.

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