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Chicken Quesadilla Soup March 6, 2012

Filed under: cooking,Martha Wannabe,soup — bvanetten @ 4:10 am

I was scanning my Pinterest board for a new recipe to try for dinner, and I came across this:

Mexican Chicken Lime Soup from

Since I left California I have been trying to recreate Islands restaurant’s Chicken Tortilla Soup, so far unsuccessfully. Normally tortilla soup is very thick like chili or creamy, but Islands’ is a thin broth. This picture had the right look, so I decided to try it.

Rachel’s ingredient list reads as such:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped, plus 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 hass avocado, thinly sliced lengthwise into 12 pieces
  • Crushed tortilla chips

Looking at the list, I decided to make a little change regarding the chipotle chilies in adobo sauce. I like the chipotle flavor, but the chilies themselves are kindof gross. Also, looking at the can at the store, I realized I have no idea what adobo sauce tastes like. After my Mexican heritage shame passed, I decided I didn’t want to put it in my soup. (Having done some research, adobo has a smoky flavor, if that appeals to you). Furthermore, Mexican food without tomatoes is weird and possibly unethical, in my opinion. So I bought a can of chunky salsa that has tomatoes, onions and green chilies, with little juice. Same goes for cheese. Come on, Rachel. Also, even though I’m from California, I don’t like avocados, so I ditched them too.

So I cut up some onion and threw it in the dutch oven with some minced garlic and olive oil:

Then I discovered something. Chicken thigh meat is gross. It took me forever to cut it up and remove the fat. So next time, I am sticking to breast meat. But for today, in the chicken went with the vegetables. I seasoned it with some chipotle garlic seasoning and the Big Three (garlic powder, onion powder and seasoned salt).

While the chicken was cooking, I cut up the cilantro with kitchen shears and prepared the limes. A trick for getting the most out of juicing limes I learned from my college roommate is to roll the lime on a hard surface. This softens the interior of the fruit and makes it easier to crush. You can achieve the same thing by microwaving the whole lime for 10-20 seconds before cutting it.

I can’t wait until summer and I can rejuvenate the herb garden planter LL made for me last year (I do not have her green thumb, but I can grow basil). I am tired of being at Giant Eagle’s mercy for fresh herbs.

Once the chicken was cooked, I added the salsa to the chicken. I started with half a can, but ended up dumping in the whole can.

So I stirred it in and let it simmer a minute to let the flavors mix (Remember that if you are using a ceramic dutch over, you always want the heat to be on low).

While that was simmering, I prepared the chicken broth.

Now, I have to say that I am OBSESSED with WIlliams-Sonoma’s concentrated stocks. I am so tired of throwing away half-used cartons of broth when I make a recipe that calls for it. I just don’t use broth enough to use the leftovers before they expire. These concentrated broths mix with water to make stock and the plus side is, you can add more to make a stronger flavor if you want. I always have it on hand, and you have exactly as much as you need.

For the soup, I combined 6 cups filtered water (1 1/2 quarts) with 4 tablespoons of the stock broth. I then added a teaspoon of ground chipotle to the soup to maintain that distinctive flavor.

I added the broth to the pot and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Then I added the lime juice and cilantro.

Whenever I’m making a soup or sauce that calls for seasoning with salt and pepper to taste, I add a tablespoon on Demi-Glace. It’s a rich concentrated sauce base that adds more complex and intense flavoring than salt and pepper. It brings out the flavors in the sauce, rather than makes the flavor more salty. I highly recommend having it on-hand in your kitchen.

When the soup was finished, I topped it with colby-jack cheese and some tortilla chips. Admittedly, it doesn’t look that stunning in the bowl, but it tasted AMAZING. FAB approved.

You can definitely taste the lime, and it has a nice heat to it. It didn’t exactly taste like Islands’ soup, but it does taste just like LL’s famous (among her children) chicken quesadillas, which are one of my favorite things she makes. When I was in college I think I ate it for dinner once a week.

So, here is my recipe for

LL’s Chicken Quesadilla Soup (adapted from Rachel Ray Everyday’s Mexican Chicken Lime Soup):


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken tenders, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 can Embassa Salsa Mexicana (even Pittsburgh grocery stores carry it)
  • 1 1/2 qt (6 cups) filtered water, 4 tablespoons Williams-Sonoma Concentrated Chicken Stock (6 cups chicken stock)
  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, to taste
  • Chicken Demi-Glace, to taste
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced lengthwise into 12 pieces (optional, for serving)
  • Colby-Jack cheese blend (for topping)
  • tortilla strips (for topping)

To Make:

In a 3.5 qt dutch oven, brown garlic and onion in olive oil over medium heat (you never want to go above medium heat in a dutch oven). Add chicken pieces and season with garlic powder, onion powder and seasoned salt, as well as a pinch of chipotle. Cook through. Add can of salsa and stir to combine; cook 5 minutes to let flavors combine. Add broth and tsp. chipotle; lower heat. Simmer 15 minutes. While soup simmers, cut up cilantro and prepare limes to be juiced. Add cilantro and lime juice to broth.

If you prefer a thicker soup, you can add a dollop of sour cream or a few tablespoons of tomato sauce to thicken without compromising the flavor.

To serve, top with cheese and tortilla chips or avocado. Enjoy quesadillas in a bowl!


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