While I was growing up, my dad always had some version of tortilla soup he liked to make. It was a staple with our busy schedules, but we loved it enough to enjoy it for our Christmas Eve dinner. He’s never followed a recipe for his soup and it’s changed quite a bit over time. In recent years, his soup has been out-of-this-world-good. He might be making a pot for the hungry teachers at my mom’s school, friends and family, or simply to eat on for a few days.
Everyone always wants the recipe but he doesn’t know what to tell people. He usually says something like, “I don’t really have a recipe, it’s more of a method.” So recently I decided to observe him and attempt to form a recipe. I think I’ve got it! I’m not sure that you’d really call this a tortilla soup (though it is quite good with tortilla chips) so I’m affectionately calling this Steve Lehman’s Famous Soup. This is a wonderful soup to share with the ones you love! I hope you enjoy!
Steve Lehman’s Famous Soup
Note: The amount of veggies can depend on your preference or what you have on hand. Feel free to adjust to your needs.
12 carrots, peeled and sliced at an angle
1-2 yellow squash, diced
2-3 ears of corn in the husk
1 large onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
(Optional) A handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
2 32-ounce boxes of unsalted chicken broth
1 large can of diced tomatoes, drained
8 ounces good quality salsa (or to taste)
1 heaping Tbsp oregano (or to taste)
1/2 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp coriander
Salt and pepper to taste
2-2.5 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Add a couple swirls of olive oil to a hot skillet. Add garlic, onion, and carrots. Cover, and let cook about 15-20 minutes, or until carrots are just starting to get soft, but are still firm. Stir occasionally while they cook.
- Meanwhile, heat broth, tomatoes, salsa, oregano, cumin, coriander, cilantro, salt and pepper in a large pot. Bring to a simmer. (*The salsa might scare you a bit, but it really doesn’t add very much heat. If you want to avoid spicy, use a mild salsa. Also, use a good quality salsa, preferably one that is NOT chunky.)
- Prepare the corn. Place corn, with husk, directly into the microwave. Cook about 15 minutes, or until you can cut off the end and squeeze cob out of husk clean with no silk. (Time will vary.) Slice corn off of the cob.
- When the carrots have reached a soft but firm texture, add them to to the pot along with with all the juices from the pan. Add corn to the pot at this time as well. Continue to simmer.
- Season chicken thighs with a good seasoning salt. Add a couple swirls of olive oil to your hot skillet and cook chicken thighs completely. When they are done, dice chicken.
- Add chicken, along with all the juices from the pan, and squash to the pot. Simmer about 45 minutes more, until ready to eat.
Serve soup with blue corn chips and avocado or fresh cornbread.
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