Chicken Tortilla Soup

I’d been thinking of making a tortilla soup for a long time when I saw it on Jen’s Journey, the blog I was assigned to this month for the Secret Recipe Club.  Jennifer claimed it was the best soup she had ever eaten so I knew it was going to pretty good.  I had to make one or two changes.  It’s not possible to buy cans of Rotel tomatoes and chillies here, or at least not where I shop, and so I just used a tin of tomatoes and some fresh chillies instead.  I hope that achieved a similar result.   Even if it didn’t, it was very very tasty and a soup that I can easily make again.

chicken tortilla soup (500x379)

Ingredients – serves 2-3

2 chicken breasts

1.5 tsp cumin

1 tsp chilli powder

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

A little salt

400g tin chopped tomatoes

2 chilli peppers, sliced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 red onion, diced

Handful of coriander leaf (cilantro)

A little grated cheese (I used cheddar)

500ml water

950ml chicken stock

2 tortillas (I used flour ones), cut into strips or triangles with a pair of scissors

How to Make Chicken Tortilla Soup

1. Mix the chilli powder, cumin, 1 clove of crushed garlic and a  little salt together.    Coat the chicken in a little oil and then sprinkle some of the spice mix onto the chicken.   Rub it in.

2. Put the chicken breasts on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 20 minutes or until done. At the same time, bake the tortilla pieces for just a short time each so they go crispy.  Shred the chicken using 2 forks.

3. Heat a little oil in a pan and add the onion, chilli pepper and bell pepper.   Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the crushed garlic and rest of the spice mix that did not go on the chicken.  Cook for another couple of minutes.

4. To the pan add the chicken, tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, stock and water. Simmer for 45 minutes.

5. At the end add some of the tortilla pieces/strips and the chopped coriander.

6. Serve topped with the grated cheese, chopped coriander and more of the tortilla pieces.  You could also garnish with avocado or sour cream.

Mexican Chicken Stew

For a long time I have been tempted by the idea of making a stew with cocoa or chocolate in it.  You might think my experiments with cocoa pasta might have put me off but not at all.  When Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog announced that this month We Should Cocoa would have the theme, sugar free, I knew it was my chance to finally push myself to make a proper savoury cocoa dish.   After all, the pasta contained hidden sugar, but if I made a stew I would know exactly what was in it and there would be no chance of being surprised by an unwanted sweet chocolate taste.

This time, my savoury cocoa dish really was savoury and I enjoyed it so much.  The cocoa gave the tomato base for the stew a richer flavour with just a hint of bitterness.  There wasn’t an obvious chocolate flavour.  If you didn’t know it had cocoa in, you might not even guess, and I suspect that that is what most people want from a savoury cocoa dish.  An added layer of flavour but not an overpowering hit.

As well as We Should Cocoa, which is hosted on alternate months by Chele at Chocolate Teapot, I am also linking this to My Kitchen My World (the theme is anywhere) and Bloggers Around the World at Cooking Around the World.  The theme this month is Mexico.

Mexican Chicken Stew (500x397)

Ingredients – serves 2-3

250g chicken, diced

400g tin chopped tomatoes

1 red pepper, sliced

1 red onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 red chilli pepper, sliced

Handful of Coriander (cilantro), chopped

2 spring onions, sliced

3 cloves

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp cocoa powder

How to Make Mexican Chicken Stew

1. Heat a little oil in a sauce pan.   Add the onion and chilli pepper and cook until soft.  Add the red pepper and crushed garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.

2. Add the chicken.   Cook until it is sealed on all sides, then stir in the cocoa, cumin, cloves and tomatoes.  Add a dash of water and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.

3. A few minutes before the end of the cooking time, stir in the spring onion and just before serving, stir in the chopped coriander.

4. Serve with rice or flatbreads.


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Chicken Enchiladas

A few months ago I bookmarked this enchiladas recipe to try.   It looked and sounded great and above all, it didn’t involve using a sauce from a jar or a ready-made spice mix.   What’s more, there was a recipe for the sauce included in the post.  Now, I don’t mind occasionally using a jar of sauce, but only for very lazy meals, not for recipes I want to blog about.   Also, if I make my own sauce, I feel I’ve created the flavours myself.   I can taste it and play around with it so I get a sense of achievement when it’s finished and tastes how I want it to taste.  Before finding this, I’d actually been reading lots of recipes and they always sounded great but usually somewhere in the list of ingredients was a branded jar of sauce or a branded spice mix for a completely unknown (in the UK) brand.  Luckily, this recipe avoided all those problems.

The only negative was the time it took to make it.  It took quite a while to make as I had to cook the chicken first (but you could use ready cooked chicken), then make the enchilada filling, then make the sauce for the top and finally bake in the oven, so perhaps it’s not a recipe to try on a weekday after work, but it’s perfect for a weekend.   My gorgeous husband (who may have been forced to watch too much Masterchef with me recently) declared that it was a ‘triumph’,  the best thing I’ve made since being pregnant.  Hmm but I thought you really liked…

Anyway, I found the recipe on Pass the Sushi who found it on The Cafe Sucre Farine and I really hope that someone sees it here and makes it, and then passes it on to someone else, because this is definitely a recipe to share.  I have made just a few alterations to the recipe based on the ingredients I had to hand and have also reduced the quantities to serve just two people.

Ingredients for Enchiladas – Serves 2

1 large chicken breast

Groundnut oil

1 small onion, finely diced

1/2 tbsp dried parsley

1/2 tbsp chilli powder

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp cumin


Black pepper

1 garlic clove, crushed

200g tinned chopped tomatoes

3 diced green chillies (this should have been a can of diced green chillies but I didn’t have it so substituted with fresh chillies)

2 tbsp grated cheese (I used Red Leicester)

1 tbsp sour cream

4 flour tortillas

1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)

1 spring onion (thinly sliced)

Enchilada Sauce (recipe below)

How to make Chicken Enchiladas

1. Poach the chicken gently until cooked, then shred with two forks.

2. Heat a little oil in a sauce pan and add the onion.   Cook until softened.  Then add the herbs, spices, salt, pepper and garlic.  Followed by the tinned chopped tomatoes and chillies.

3. Bring up to the boil and then add the shredded chicken. Turn the heat down and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.  Add a dash of water it if gets too dry.

4. While the filling is simmering, make the enchilada sauce using the recipe below.

5. Just before assembling the enchiladas, add half the cheese, coriander and sour cream to the chicken mixture and stir in until the cheese has melted.

6. Lightly oil an ovenproof dish.  Take a flour tortilla.   Put a quarter of the mixture on the tortilla and roll it up.   Place it in the dish and repeat with the other three tortillas.

7. Pour the enchilada sauce over the top of the tortillas, top with the rest of the cheese and place in the oven for about 20 minutes.   When ready, top with the spring onion to serve.

Ingredients for Enchilada Sauce


1 tbsp self-raising flour

1 tsp hot chilli powder

200g can tinned tomatoes

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1 small clove garlic, crushed


Black pepper

How to make Enchilada Sauce

1.  Put a generous dash of oil in a small saucepan.    Heat and then add the flour and chilli powder.  Keep stirring and cook for a couple of minutes over a low-medium heat.

2. Blend the tomatoes and add to the saucepan slowly, stirring into the paste so it keeps a smooth consistency.    Add the other seasonings and a little water if it is too thick.  Keep stirring and let it simmer and reduce to a thick tomato sauce.  Taste and adjust any seasonings if necessary.

Huevos Rancheros

My first experience with huevos rancheros was four years ago in Mexico.   At the hotel breakfast buffet there were huge trays of tomatoes with whole habanero chillies dotted around amongst the tomatoes with the eggs served on the side.   I was loving it and was getting a bit complacent with all the chillies, when I decided to taste one.   It gave me the chilli shock of my life.   My husband, then my fiance, was ordered back to the buffet to bring me not just a spoonful but a whole plateful of yoghurt, and I needed just about all of it to stop my mouth from burning.   Oh yes, he enjoyed the entertainment that breakfast!    It didn’t put me off though – I continued to eat this every day, just a little more cautiously.   Later on, back home in England, if I wanted a special breakfast it would be a traditional fry up of bacon, eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms, but huevos rancheros was never that far from my mind.   When Thomasina Miers made it recently on tv, I decided it was time.   I stuck fairly closely to her recipe, but the main change I made, was to cook the eggs in the pan with the tomato.   I’m not an expert, but from what I’ve seen and read elsewhere, that is how they are usually prepared.   I also liked the idea that the egg would cook on the tomato and so would take on the tomato flavour and use less oil than if it was fried in a separate pan.

I also liked the fact that one of the eggs had two yolks in it.   As the yolk is the best part of the egg, I made sure I gave myself that portion!   It was absolutely delicious and made me quite ashamed I’d never made it at home before.

Ingredients – Serves 2

400g tin tomatoes

1 small onion, finely diced

1 clove garlic, crushed

1tsp sugar

1 habanero chilli, most of seeds removed and diced

Dash of Worcestershire sauce

2 eggs

Grated cheese (optional)

How to Make Huevos Rancheros

1. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and  add the onion.   Fry until soft then add the chillies and garlic.   After a minute add the tinned tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar and Worcestershire sauce.    Simmer for about 10 minutes.

2. Make two wells in the tomato mixture.    Break an egg into each hole.    When the egg has turned white, it’s ready to serve.

3. Serve with toast.  If you like, sprinkle some grated cheese on the top.


Mushroom and Tomato Quesadillas

Mushroom and Tomato Quesadillas

I went to Mexico a couple of years ago and loved the food.  It felt really healthy and fresh compared with some Mexican food I’d had before going there.   Quesadillas are a really quick and easy lunch to make at weekends and there are so many different fillings you can add.  This is the way I made them today:

Ingredients (Serves 2)

2 flour tortillas

handful of mushrooms

about 6 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

1 small handful of parsley, finely chopped

200g grated cheese


1. Fry the onions, mushrooms and garlic for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes.  Continue to cook for about a minute.  Take off the heat and stir in the chopped fresh parsley.

2. Put one tortilla in the bottom of a frying pan over a very low heat.  Cover with the filling, leaving a couple of centimetres clear around the edge.  Top with the grated cheese then the other tortilla.  After about 3 minutes, turn the tortilla and cook on the other side.

3. Slice into quarters and serve with a green salad.