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Tortilla Soup

We were recently in Jamaica for a little relaxing getaway.  While we were there, one of the restaurants served Tortilla soup as part of a Mexican buffet.  My husband fell in love, and I was tasked with the mission of finding a recipe for Tortilla soup that we could make at home.

The natural first step is to google it, which I did. This recipe from Chow stood out right away since it looks, color and texture wise, very similar to the Jamaican version. We tried it out, and it was great!  No need to change anything, except some steps.  We did end up throwing the whole base in the blender when we finished to smooth things out, and we doubled the recipe so we would have leftovers.

Tortilla Soup
Total time: About 3 hours
Total cook time: About 2 hours

4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, medium diced
1 small carrot, peeled and medium diced
1 medium celery stalk, medium diced
1 medium red bell pepper, medium diced
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
64 oz (2 quarts) Low-sodium chicken broth
2 cup water
2 cup (~19 oz) canned crushed tomatoes
3 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
10 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cups shredded (1.5 lbs), cooked chicken (a whole rotisserie chicken or boiled breasts/thighs shredded with the kitchenaid)
1 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese, for topping
Sour cream, for topping
Tortilla chips, for topping



  • Prepare all of your ingredients ahead of time.
  • Heat oil in a large soup pot.
  • Add in the onion, carrot, celery, and bell pepper. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add in the garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, oregano, paprika, and cayenne. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  • Add in the chicken broth, water, crushed tomatoes, measured salt and pepper. Stir well then bring to a boil.
  • Add in the corn tortillas, stir, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, allowing the tortillas to break up for about an hour.
  • Carefully, working in batches, process the soup in the blender to smooth it all out. Return to the soup pot.
  • Add in the chicken and heavy cream. Return to medium heat, and allow everything to heat through. About 15-20 minutes.
  • Serve topped with additional salt, pepper, Monterey Jack cheese, and sour cream to taste. Top with tortilla chips.

This recipe did describe how to make little fried tortilla strips with the leftover corn tortillas, however, we were way to lazy to do this the day that we made the soup. Here are the instructions anyway.

For the tortilla strips:

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 (6-inch) corn tortillas
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking (about 350°F on a deep-frying/candy thermometer), about 6 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, stack the tortillas on a cutting board. Cut the stack in half, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips; set aside. Line a baking sheet with paper towels; set aside.
  3. When the oil is ready, add half of the tortilla strips and fry, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to the prepared baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining tortilla strips; set aside.

Crock Pot Jerk Chicken

This is one of those recipes that is just to die for. It reminds us of a one of our favorite places, Jamaica.  Friendly people, a slower pace, sunshine, and good food!  What could be better.  This recipe is perfect for a hot summer day when you don’t even want to think about turning on the stove, or for a cold summer day when you’re looking for a bit of heat to spice up the doldrums.  Either way, this recipe has a lot of spices, a lot of heat, and a lot of flavor.

Just a warning, this recipe needs to marinate. So we usually prepare it the night before in our crock pot dish then refrigerate overnight, and set it up to cook in the morning.

We serve with white rice, or Spanish rice.

Crock Pot Jerk Chicken (Makes: A LOT)

5-6 lbs of chicken thighs
1 large onion, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
2 scotch bonnet peppers, chopped

Grated ginger

3/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 TBSP lime juice

2 TBSP Garlic powder
2 TBSP Kosher salt
1 TBSP Granulated sugar
1 TBSP Ground allspice
1 TBSP Ground dried Thyme
2 Tsp Cayenne pepper
1 1/2 Tsp Ground Black pepper
1 1/2 Tsp Ground dried Sage
3/4 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
3/4 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

Combine everything, except the chicken, in a crock pot.  Add the chicken and coat well.  Cover and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour, but overnight is better.  Cook in the crock pot for 7 hours on low.  Eat up!

If you want to add a bit of a crisp, turn your oven to broil, place the chicken on a cookie sheet and put under the broiler quickly, just for a minute or two.  Keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn!