Everything you love about chicken enchiladas served up soup-style. The chicken enchilada soup is made with chicken, corn, and pepper jack cheese and is topped with a simple-to-make fresh pico de gallo and crispy homemade tortilla strips ( <— also easy to make!). This is what to make to stay warm this winter.
Chicken Enchilada Soup
I’ve been on a Mexican-inspired-food kick starting with some chicken enchiladas with slow cooker salsa verde a few weeks ago, a poblano chicken chili not too long after, and now a chicken enchilada soup topped with a fresh pico de gallo and crispy tortilla strips. And, as I type this, it’s clear I’ve also been on a chicken kick. Hm.
I blame the weather. When it’s cold I tend to crave comforting dishes and recipes with a Mexican/Southwest flair seem to top the list, so I won’t be surprised at all to see the trend continue way into the New Year as I think we’re stuck with winter for a while. So, today, soup! A cozy chicken enchilada soup with corn and lots of pepper jack cheese.
Over the last few years, it’s clear I’m a little obsessed with soup-making. I often have waxed poetic on the virtues of making soup with a heavy focus on the therapeutic process of making soup. I think I enjoy the cooking part a little bit more than the actual eating part. But, as I worked on today’s soup, I realized it’s also soup garnishes that get me excited – it’s never enough to just make a soup, I love to top it with some tasty accoutrements, so let’s start there…
Easy Pico de Gallo Garnish
The soup itself a rich and cheesy and so a bite of something fresh on top makes for a nice contrast. In this case, I made a simple pico de gallo. This time of year, when tomatoes are out of season, I use a lot of cherry tomatoes for recipes that require fresh tomatoes because they still taste good even in the dead of winter. Combining them with some diced onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice makes for a nice, bright bite for the soup. The pico adds color and the acid balances out the richness of the soup.
DIY Crispy Tortilla Strips
While you can certainly buy a bag of tortilla chips and use a few to add a nice crunch for the soup, making your own crispy tortilla strips is so easy and, to me at least, they taste so much better made fresh. I used white corn tortillas and cut them into thin strips. A few minutes in some hot vegetable oil and they turned a beautiful crispy, golden brown. I like to float them on the soup and top them with a scoop of pico.
Chicken enchiladas soup-style. This is the way to stay warm this winter.
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Creamy chicken enchilada soup, made with pepper jack cheese and topped with a simple pico de gallo and crispy tortilla garnish. I’ve included instructions for roasting a chicken breast (see the notes for details), but the easiest thing to do is pick-up one of those rotisserie chickens at the store. You’ll have more meat than you’ll need for this recipe, but it’ll save you some time.
You can also use store-bought tortilla chips to garnish, but making your own crispy strips is easy to do while the soup simmers.
For the Pico de Gallo Garnish
- 1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1 tbsp finely diced jalapeno
- 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
For the Soup
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 2 tsp chopped garlic
- 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 cups water
- 8 ounces half & half
- 1 1/2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
For the Crispy Tortilla Strips
- 2 white corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch strips
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- kosher salt
- Make the Pico de Gallo: Mix all of the ingredients for the pico in a small bowl. Cover and place in the refrigerator to chill while you make the soup.
- Make the Soup: In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook them, stirring frequently, until the onion starts to soften. Add the cooked chicken, corn, salt, and butter. Stir until the butter is melted and then add the flour and stir to combine. Add the water and increase the heat to bring the pot to a boil. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cook the soup, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes. Add the half & half and, after it’s warmed through, add the cheese stirring until it’s melted and smooth.
- Make the Crispy Tortilla Strips: You can make the tortilla strips while the soup is simmering (before you add the half & half). Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Once heated, place one tortilla strip in the oil. If the oil bubbles around the strip go ahead and add a few more. If not, your oil may not be hot enough so warm it a little longer or turn the heat up a bit. Fry the strips in a couple of batches until they are golden brown. Transfer them to a plate lined with a paper towel and season them with a few pinches of salt while they’re hot.
- To Serve: Ladle the soup into bowls. Float a few tortilla strips in the soup and top them with a few tablespoons of the cold pico de gallo.
If you need to cook some chicken because you don’t have any leftover over (or don’t want to buy a rotisserie chicken) just rub two large bone-in skin-on chicken breast with some olive oil and salt and pepper and roast it at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees. Discard the skin and bones and shred the meat to use in the recipe.
- Calories: 636
- Fat: 29.4g
- Carbohydrates: 26.4g
- Fiber: 2.4g
- Protein: 28.4g