spicy tortilla-sausage soup

4 to 6    |   
Prep Time:
20 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
20 minutes

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I was at a writer’s retreat and ended up talking more about food than writing—kind of like you do at a book club. Anyway, one attendee asked me how to make tortilla soup because her family loved it. It’s so easy to make, I rattled a recipe off the top of my head, but I’ve written it down for you. It’s chock full of good stuff and it’s a quick, healthy dinner any time of year. The fun part is setting out garnishes for everyone to choose from. If you don’t want to make the tortillas strips, just crumble tortilla chips into each bowlful instead. For a pork-free version, try tortilla soup with rice.


tortilla strips
6 corn tortillas
vegetable oil
kosher salt

1 small yellow onion, chopped
12 ounces chorizo sausage (see note)
1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
3 Roma (plum) tomatoes
1 cup frozen, thawed corn kernels

2 limes, cut into wedges
2 large avocados, diced
sliced radishes or shredded cabbage
chopped cilantro

First, make tortillas strips by preheating your oven to 375°F. Brush the corn tortillas on one side with some oil and sprinkle with salt. Stack the tortillas and cut them in half, then cut the halves into thin strips about 2 inches long. Spread on a large baking sheet and bake until crispy, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the soup, warm 2 tablespoons oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until starting to soften, about 1 minute. Slit sausage casings with a knife, crumble meat into pan, and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until the meat is no longer pink. Drain off fat. Stir in the oregano and cumin, then add the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Core tomatoes and cut in half lengthwise; scrape out the seeds and dice the tomatoes. Add to the soup with the corn kernels and cook 5 minutes more. Turn off heat and let soup stand for 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls and squeeze a lime wedge into each bowlful. Serve with tortilla strips and whatever other garnishes you want, set out in bowls for each person to add as desired.

note: be sure to use fresh Mexican chorizo from the butcher, not the dried Spanish variety in the deli. If you can’t find fresh chorizo, use spicy Italian sausage and increase ground cumin amount to 2 teaspoons.