JJ’s Amazing Chicken Tortilla Soup

Corn tortillas are “the bread of Mexico”. I grew up with a Mexican grandmother and my memories of going to visit her where always filled with the delicious smells of homemade Mexican food. My granny (abuelita) settled down in Marshall, Texas. It’s up in the north east corner of Texas near the border of Louisiana. It’s quite a beautiful place to go visit with it’s giant pine trees, red dirt and the famous Caddo Lake where we’d always go eat some of the best catfish, ever!

In the seventies her old run down motel became the place construction workers would come to get help for their business. She was the day labor of her tiny town and her rooms quickly filled with Mexican families looking for a place to live and get work. A lot of times the families wouldn’t stay long. Once they got on their feet they’d settle down in their own homes. But while they were at Marshall Place they cooked and I had the pleasure of eating their incredibly amazing and delicious food! Of course today things are very different but this was 30+ years ago.

My grandmother was probably one of the biggest influences in my life. She taught me so much about life just by the experiences from the many different places she would take her grand kids. We made several visits to Mexico with her but she also showed us beautiful things around the United States. We went to the Indian Reservations in Oklahoma, to the Fiesta on the Boardwalk in San Antonio and to Caddo Lake of course since she lived near. My grandmother was an avid traveler. I’m pretty sure she’d been around the world, experiencing many aspects of life and cultures. I didn’t truly appreciate the gift of knowledge and life experiences she gave her young grand kids, as much as I should have. But, I have so many memories of so many adventures she took us on and I am forever grateful to her. “Te Amo Abuelita!”

This recipe is dedicated to mi abuelita…


  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken
  • chicken stock
  • 3 garlic cloves (peeled)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 poblano pepper (seeded)
  • 1 jalapeno seeded
  • 3 green onion stems
  • 1 lime and zest
  • 3-5 corn tortillas
  • cilantro, shredded monterey jack cheese and 1 avocado (optional)
  1. heat up sauce pot over medium high heat. coat with oil. slice chicken into small pieces and lay in pot. season with salt & pepper and let cook. in the meantime…
  2. finely chop garlic, dice carrot and celery, toss into pot.
  3. dice poblano, slice jalapeno and toss in pot.
  4. pour chicken stock into pot. enough to cover chicken and veggies. lower the heat to medium and let soup simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. thinly slice tortillas into ribbons and add to pot. let simmer on low about 5 minutes more.

Garnish tortilla soup with chopped cilantro and green onion. A little lime zest and slice of lime. Sliced avocado and cheese!

Serves 4-6


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