Living in Austin, Texas, you can get tortilla soup at just about any Mexican restaurant in town. Everywhere I've been, the soup base is a little different, but the main ingredients of chicken broth, tortilla chips and cheese are the same.

You will need:

  • 1 medium purple onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced, or 1 1/2 teaspoons of pre-minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, made by extra virgins of course
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3 regular sized cans of crushed tomatoes or one huge can

  • * regular size is usually 14 ounce cans, and huge is 28 ounce size. I love more of a tomato flavor so I use 3 14 ounce cans, but one 28 ounce size is adequate*
  • 4 cups chicken broth more or less, from cans, cubes or homemade

  • * for all you vegetarians out there, just use vegetable broth and leave out the chicken *
  • 2 to 4 pint glasses of water, depending on how thick you prefer your soup
  • 2 to 4 pint glasses of beer, depending on how long it takes you to prepare dinner
  • 1 regular size can sweet yellow corn
  • 1 4 ounce can chopped green chiles
  • 1 regular size can black beans
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 boneless chicken boobies, cooked and cut into small pieces
  • smushed tortilla chips if you're lazy like me, or fry up some strips of leftover corn tortillas if you're more motivated
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • chopped green onions for garnish


First, drag out all ingredients to the kitchen counter and pour your first beer. Find your largest soup pot and fire it up. Get the broth and water heating while you start sauteing the onion and garlic with the olive oil. Once the onions are nice and soft, dump into soup pot and start cooking that chicken if it's not already done. Add it to the pot.

Now, you should be on your second beer. Take all the canned ingredients and open them up and dump them right in. Don't drain the juices! That's the good stuff. Add the chopped cilantro and spices. Stir up really well and add more water if it's too thick. Tortilla soup is typically pretty thin, but you're the cook so make it how you want, dammit.

Allow everything to come to a boil. Reduce the heat and let that simmer while you go have a cigarette with that third beer. Once done, return to the kitchen and check the soup. It is ready to eat after about 20 minutes of cooking, but it only gets better if left simmering for a hour or two. I myself like to make quesadillas with some sauteed onions, mushrooms and some of that jack cheese while the soup cooks.

Once you're ready to eat, ladle some soup in a big bowl and top it with a handful of smushed tortilla chips, a few avocado slices, shredded jack cheese and a sprinkle of chopped green onions. Pour yourself that last pint of beer and you're all set!

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