Emeril's Favorite Tortilla Soup

4 to 6 servings

Through the years, I've been very intrigued by the different tortilla soups, with their many flavors, served in the Southwest. I started experimenting about ten years ago, and finally perfected this one. It's pretty darn good, and it pops up on the menus at Emeril's and Delmonico Steakhouse. The Chipotle Crema is optional.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 poblano chile pepper, plus 1 jalapeƱo seeded and chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 6 stale corn tortillas, cut into 1/4 inch-thick strips
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon Emeril's Original Essence or Creole Seasoning
  • 1 avocado, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • Chipotle Crema (optional):
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon chopped canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce


Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or other large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, chile pepper, salt, cumin and coriander and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the chicken to the soup and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cilantro and lime juice and stir well. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

Heat the oil in a small heavy pot to 350 degrees F. Add the tortilla strips, in batches, and fry until golden and crisp, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season with the Essence.

Ladle the soup into four or six serving bowls. Garnish with the diced avocado, fried tortilla strips and chipotle crema (instructions follow), if using. Serve immediately.

Chipotle Crema

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (The crema will keep in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 3 days).

Recipe reprinted by permission of Harper 2009. All rights reserved.

RecID 9963

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