Turkey Tortilla Soup

Are you all “turkey-ed out”? No, no, I didn’t say “tuckered out” (though the two are a bit related), you heard me right ………… are you turkey-ed out? …………….
………………. don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s a seasonal malady that often occurs this time of the year in the U.S. and we came down with it at The Café this past weekend. After preparing and enjoying a traditional turkey dinner for Thanksgiving, we weren’t really in the mood for much more turkey other than a sandwich or two. In fact we were just plain tired of turkey (see, they are related – we were tuckered out on turkey)! My dilemma was that huge container of leftover meat staring at me each time I opened the refrigerator door.

Being in the mood for Mexican, I decided to give the leftovers a fun, flavorful facelift and set about …………….. making soup! Not just any soup, but a “south of the border” inspired soup with lots of fresh veggies, crushed tomatoes, green chiles, cilantro, chili powder and cumin. I added fresh corn tortillas, not only to the soup itself where they melt into the broth providing a unique, delicious and authentic flavor, but also cut in strips and baked until crisp as a delightful topping.

We LOVED this soup! My husband, who’s not a huge soup fan, ate THREE bowls for dinner the other night. The following morning we shot photos for the blog and guess what? After looking at that yummy stuff again and inhaling the intoxicating aroma as we took the pictures, we both ate the white bowls of soup pictured …………. for breakfast! It’s that good …………. and we totally forgot about being “turkey-ed out”.

If you don’t have left-over turkey, this soup is just as delicious with grilled, roasted or even rotisserie chicken. It would be a wonderful and welcome treat to pull out of the fridge on a hectic pre-holiday evening when time is running short or when unexpected guests arrive. The recipe makes a lot, but it freezes well or makes a great meal for a crowd. Serve it with bowls of sour cream, chopped tomato, diced avocado, cilantro sprigs, Cotija cheese and the yummy crisp corn tortilla strips. Oh, and don’t be surprised when your guests request second ………….. or third helpings!


I’m sharing my soup on Stone Gable’s On the Menu Monday.

Turkey Tortilla Soup

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped in ¼inch dice
3 stalks celery, chopped in ¼inch dice
4 medium carrots, chopped in ¼inch dice
4 teaspoons cumin
4 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon crushed or ground coriander
6 cloves garlic, minced
8 – 6-inch corn tortillas, cut in small pieces
2 ½ quarts low sodium chicken broth
2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
½ cup finely chopped cilantro stems (I use the lower stalks of the cilantro and save the leaves for garnishing the top. The stems have a ton of flavor and this is a great use for them. Just cut off any roots and/or brown ends and use the lower few inches)
2-3 teaspoons kosher salt or fine sea salt, to taste
4-6 cups shredded turkey or chicken
1 – 19-ounce bag frozen corn kernels, I like the kind labeled “super sweet”
2 – 4-ounce cans green chiles
2 – 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

Suggested toppings:
sour cream
chopped tomatoes
diced avocado
cilantro sprigs
Cotiga cheese, crumbled
Crispy Tortilla Strips (see recipe below)

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery and sauté until tender. Add the next 6 ingredients and cook stirring frequently for 2 minutes.

2. Add chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, cilantro and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes until all veggies are tender.

3. Puree soup in batches with a regular blender or food processor or use a stick blender* to puree soup right in the pot.

4. If using a regular blender or food processor, return pureed soup to the pot. Add turkey (or chicken), corn, green chiles and black beans. Simmer gently for another 10 minutes. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with toppings, if desired.

I love my stick blender. They’re inexpensive and indispensable in my kitchen. A stick blender makes preparing yummy soups like this a breeze.

Crispy Tortilla Strips

6 6-inch corn tortillas, cut in 1/4 inch strips
2 tablespoons canola oil
fine sea salt or kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Pile tortilla strips onto the baking sheet and drizzle with the oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and toss with your fingers to coat.

3. Spread strips out on the sheet pan. Bake in the oven until deep golden and crisp, stirring every few minutes for about 20 minutes Watch them carefully as they will easily burn.


44 thoughts on “Turkey Tortilla Soup”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *