My version of the Barefoot Contessa's Mexican Chicken Soup

I like Ina Garten's version of Mexican Chicken Soup very much, but I make a few changes which I've noted below.

Aside from roasting the chicken (you can use store-bought rotisserie), the soup goes together fairly rapidly and only needs to simmer for about 30 minutes.

While the chicken breasts are baking, prepare the vegetables:

Grab your favorite big pot... I have a few favorites but if I'm serving from the pot I like to pick a pretty one. :)

Heat the oil, and saute the vegetables ~

... until the onions just begin to brown.

While the veggies are cooking slice the fresh, white corn tortillas in half, then into 1/2-inch strips:

These will serve to slightly thicken and flavor the broth.

Stir in the garlic and herb/spices (except the cilantro), allow them to release their oils.

Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, minced jalapleno peppers, salt and pepper to the pot, and bring to a boil.

Stir in the fresh tortilla strips~

They will begin to soften and dissolve;

Reduce the heat and partially cover the pot.

Allow to simmer for 25 minutes or so, then add the chicken just before serving.

Garnish with your choice of toppings/ I use the cilantro leaves generously because I love it, but some don't so I pass it along with the other condiments at the table. Then get ready to enjoy a comforting soup!

I follow Ina's recipe fairly closely as far as ingredients and amounts, but I do change a few things which I've noted below.

Mexican Chicken Soup
My adaptation of Ina Garten's recipe

4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups diced onions (2 onions)
1 cup sliced celery (2 stalks, or more depending upon size)
2 cups sliced carrots (4 carrots)
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 1/2 qts chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in purée, crushed (I use two 14.5 ounce cans, of diced tomatoes with their juice)
1 to 3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon dry Mexican Oregano, or 2 teaspoons fresh
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional
6 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas
Instant Masa Harina (as thickener, optional)

For serving: sliced avocado, sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 3 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. When I add the garlic, I also add the cumin, coriander, and oregano, to allow their oils to release.

Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their purée, jalapenos, , 2 teaspoons salt (I don't add the entire 1 Tablespoon, as the amount will depend upon the saltiness of the chicken stock, you can adjust at the end of cooking time)
1 teaspoon pepper

Note: Ina adds the cilantro now, if using. I don't because I don't like cooked cilantro leaves. I do mince some of the stems and add them now. (optional)

Cut the tortillas in half, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips and add to the soup.

Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. I partially cover.

If you prefer thicker soup, add about a Tablespoon or so of instant Masa Harina (optional)

Just before serving add the shredded chicken and season to taste.

If I'm serving individually, and not out of the pot at the table I add the chicken to the soup bowls, then ladle the hot soup over the top. I pass the cilantro at the table to allow each diner to add their own.

Serve the soup with any of the following, if you like: sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.

May use rotisserie chicken rather than roasting your own.


  1. I like to have a pot of soup simmering on the stove on New Year's day. This will be perfect.

    I love the south of the border flavors and lots of cilantro. Yum.

  2. I make a taco soup, but this one looks delish! Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Great looking soup, Mary! I love Mexican! the blue bowl is beautiful! but, WOW, your copper pot is a stunner!

  4. Mari, I haven't tried Ina's recipe yet, but your version, not to mention, the colors in that soup, would make any Mariachi sing.

  5. I just want to sink into this soup! You always have the loveliest photos and dishes and pots and pans! It makes me want to explore your cupboards! I love you version of Ina's soup! It looks wonderful! Happy New Year!

  6. You were not kidding about the pretty pot! Everything here is gorgeous and tempting to my tastebuds. I could eat soup everyday in the winter I think and never tire of it (now if only I could convince DH).

  7. I love this recipe and yours look good too.

  8. That looks absolutely scrumptious!
    I love your pot and your soup looks so warm and comforting!

    I make my soup in a similar way...I like to fry up a few tortilla strips for the top! Sometimes I saute some fideo noodles and cook those in the soup for a change of pace...I add chipotle chile once in a while too...

    I am craving this now after seeing your pictures!
    Happy New Year Mary!
    L xo :*

  9. What a beautiful soup in a beautiful pot. Visiting your blog reminds me that even in these hard economic times, grace and beauty are not only possible, but necessary.

    Thank you, Mari! Hope you have a wonderful New Year full of yummy things.

  10. I've been without internet for the last several days while traveling and have missed your delicious recipes and gorgeous photos! Glad to be back... your Christmas table was simple but beautiful. I'm going to have to try the miso - my sister uses it quite regularly.

  11. i agree with laurie, you make your dishes all look so graceful and delicious. What pot is that.. I have seen it at sur la table, but it's not a staube is it?

  12. first i love you pot, muy bonita~ next, pass me a bowl, surely you have a little leftover to share?

  13. Beautiful! I just LOVE tortilla soup, thank you, yum.

  14. I love that pretty pot, Mary! I love everything about this soup - you've cranked it up a notch or two :) Lovely!


Thank you for your comments, friends ~ they make my day!

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