Chicken Tortilla Soup

While browsing through my local library branch a few weeks ago, I ran across a copy of Grow Younger, Live Longer by Deepak Chopra and David Simon. On most days, I wouldn't have given the book a second glance--I'm firmly committed to expiring, in good health, in my 90s. However, Rose Cole, a health coach that I've been Twitter-stalking of late, recently contributed to Audacious Aging with the good doctor; since I love what Rose has to say, I thought that I would give the book a shot.

The age-reversal methods in Grow Younger, Live Longer are heavily based in Ayurveda, a Hindu system of traditional medicine currently classified as an alternative medicine. Practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine consider diet to be the most effective way to fight aging and aim for a balance of tastes--not food groups--to promote good health. Dr. Chopra devotes a chapter to an Ayurvedic diet ("Nurturing Your Body Through Healthy Food") and includes recipes from a variety of cuisines in one of the appendices. In this grouping, I found his version of Tortilla Soup and decided to try it.

I adapted the recipe for my own use, as I had some chicken on hand that I needed to use before it spoiled. The result was a light, flavorful chicken soup that was perfect for the post-Sandy grayness permeating our world.

Chicken Tortilla Soup (as adapted from Deepak Chopra's Grow Younger, Live Longer)

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 2 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, cubed
  • 4 c vegetable stock
  • 1 c corn, frozen
  • 1/4 c roasted red pepper, cubed
  • 2 corn tortillas, cut into one-inch strips
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 c fresh cilantro, chopped and loosely packed
Directions
  1. In a medium soup pot, melt 1 Tbsp butter. Add chicken and onion; cook until the chicken is no longer pink and the onion is tender.
  2. Add salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and chili powder to pot. Stir to coat chicken.
  3. Add carrots and bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 c vegetable stock and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add corn, roasted red bell pepper, and remaining vegetable stock. Simmer until carrots are tender, about 7-10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a small saute pan, melt the remaining 1 Tbsp of butter. Fry the tortilla strips until crispy and set aside.
  6. Remove soup from heat and stir in cilantro. Place 1/4 c of avocado in the bottom of each soup bowl and ladle soup on top. Serve hot, garnished with additional cilantro or a Mexican cheese blend, if desired.
Serves 4.

We opted not to garnish the soup, which turned out to have plenty of cilantro in it. For our purposes, I might have dialed down the crushed red pepper flakes a tad, but overall, the soup is warm, fiery, and filling.

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