Joss' Island
Grilled Chicken Tortila Soup with Tequila Crema
Posted 10/14/2013 12:32:00 PM

Grilled Chicken Tortilla Soup with Tequila Crema

This recipe almost seriously got messed up. Well…maybe not seriously – but seriously enough!

I had to marinade the chicken thighs about 8 hours before throwing them on the grill. And there were all these wonderful ingredients – like tequila, a chipotle pepper, Mexican Oregano ( I love that stuff).

SO – my friend Josh is over – he had taken me to breakfast (thanks, Josh!) and he’s sitting at my kitchen island as I am putting together this chicken in the marinade. I put all the ingredients with the chicken thighs and throw it in a zip lock bag. Then, I spin around my cook-book- holder –upper- thingy to show Josh what I am up to and he goes “you messed up already.”

I was like “SHUT UP!” He says “yeah – look –you missed a step.”

AW GREAT – this is what I get for trying to socialize and tell stories while I’m trying to cook! I had forgotten to put all of the ingredients (minus the chicken thighs) into the blender before marinating. 

I gave some serious thought to skipping this step – but I really try to uphold the integrity of Guy’s recipes (especially when I cook them for the very first time). SO I had get the chicken out of the bag, put it in a separate bowl and then bust out the blender for the rest of the ingredients.

I am glad I did – because this was an EXCELLENT marinade. IMO this could be used with chicken breasts as well AND it could be used just for a good grilled chicken and not put into a soup. BTW – I did grill them on my grill (not inside in a pan or in the George foreman)

NOW for the soup. This is tricky because as I was going along cooking it, I felt like I wasn’t tasting much flavor. I did go back and add some more spices (ok, this is where I did not stick to the integrity of the recipe). I also have a bit of a fear of tasteless soup. BUT as it turns out – this was a GREAT soup! Especially with the grilled tortilla strips and chicken in it.

The Tequila Crema was ok – I think I’ll back off on the lime next time.

But overall, a great soup to warm up a cold winter’s night OR surprise your guests with next time you whip up Mexican food.

Here’s the recipe:

For marinade:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 ounces silver tequila
2 limes, juiced
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
4 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin removed

For soup base:

1 jalapeno, roasted and minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder, plus some for dust tortilla strips
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 cups chicken stock, make sure this is stock, not broth (recommended: Kitchen Essentials)
1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed fire roasted tomatoes (recommended: Muir Glen)
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 corn tortilla, cut into strips

For serving:

2 1/2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
8 corn tortillas, cut into strips
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
Pinch chili powder
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons tequila
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 Hass avocado, halved, pitted and flesh diced
1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves roughly chopped
Lime wedges, for garnish


Put the vegetable oil, tequila, lime juice, chipotle pepper, cumin, chili powder, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper in a small food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Put the marinade in a plastic bag along with the chicken. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.

Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Add the jalapeno and grill until the skin is well charred. Remove the jalapeno to a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap to sweat the skin. When cool enough to handle, remove the stem, skin, and seeds, then finely mince.

Heat a large, heavy bottom pot over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Once hot, add the onion and saute until starting to caramelize, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, minced jalapeno, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper, to taste. Cook about 3 or 4 minutes, being careful not to burn the mixture. Deglaze the pan with some of the chicken stock, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the remaining chicken stock, the crushed tomatoes and the lime juice. Add the tortilla strips and bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

While soup base is simmering, heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and put on grill. Grill, turning until cooked through, about 14 to 18 minutes. Remove from the grill, to a large plate and when cool enough to handle, remove the skin and bones and shred. Keep warm.

For serving:

Heat the vegetable oil in a tall sided skillet to 350 degrees F. Add the tortilla strips and fry until they are golden brown. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and season with 1 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of chili powder.

Combine the sour cream, 2 tablespoons tequila, and the remaining lime zest in a small bowl and season with salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper.

To serve, put some of the shredded chicken in the bottom of each bowl and pour in the hot soup base. Top with diced avocado, fried tortilla strips, the tequila crema, and cilantro. Garnish with lime wedges and serve.

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Posted By: Joss  

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