Represent with some tortilla soup

On Monday it was cold and rainy here. The kind of cold and rainy that inspired P and I to go eat breakfast at our favorite little breakfast place after he dropped Caroline off at school. Of course it also may have had something to do with the fact that he opened up the refrigerator and discovered we were out of eggs. I’d used our last egg the night before when I offered to make ham and eggs for Caroline for dinner and then had to inform her that it was just going to be ham and egg. Singular.

He was all fired up for a good breakfast and that’s a hard thing to come by when you’re out of eggs. And bacon. And basically any manner of food items that pass for breakfast food when you consider that I gave up eating frozen pizzas for breakfast shortly after college.

So we went out for breakfast, drank coffee and watched the monsoon outside. All the rain made me lament the fact that I am not the owner of some super cute rainboots. Granted, since I live somewhere that’s experienced record drought conditions for the last two years, buying rainboots fell pretty far down on my to-do list. Right behind getting a pet ferret and painting the trim in the master bath that’s been bare for six years.

I suggested to P that we go to Target after breakfast because I could get rainboots, he could get a raincoat, and we could buy enough groceries to get us through until I could make it to HEB. To my complete and utter shock, he agreed on the trip to Target. We ran through the rain, got in the car, and he looked at me and asked, “Where’s Target?”

It’s like we are two strangers living under the same roof.

Once we made it there, I immediately found an umbrella but, alas, they had no rainboots or rain coats. Oh Target, how you disappoint me on occasion. We headed to the grocery section where, I kid you not, P put three cases of water, six boxes of granola bars, and five things of Degree Antiperspirant for men in our cart. And I vowed then and there to never allow him to see the inside of a Sam’s Club. He is powerless to resist discount pricing.

Anyway, once we got back in from the cold and rain without new rainboots or rain coats, I began to seriously crave some tortillas soup. And, sure, I live in San Antonio and I could get tortilla soup at about twelve different restaurants in a three mile radius, but I wanted to make homemade tortilla soup.

So I did exactly what Caroline Ingalls would have done back in the olden days and twittered (sent out a tweet? tweeted?) asking if anyone had a good recipe for tortilla soup.

And anyone who says technology isn’t useful is wrong because I suddenly found myself with dozens upon dozens of tortilla soup recipes to choose from. Thank you, internet.

(Does anyone claim that technology isn’t useful? Other than maybe the Amish? Who obviously don’t care about eating great tortilla soup?)

My original plan was to eventually make all the various recipes and report the results here because who doesn’t love a tortilla soup taste test? I mean other than the Amish and people who think technology isn’t useful?

But then last night I made the recipe that Antique Mommy emailed to me. It’s a recipe for the tortilla soup the chef makes at The Mansion at Turtle Creek in Dallas. I chose to make it first for two reasons:

1. The Mansion is a really nice restaurant and people in Dallas aren’t going to put up with some slop disguised as tortilla soup.

2. The recipe contains tomato puree which told me that the finished product would be reddish-orange in color which is exactly what I have spent my life, or at least Monday afternoon, hoping to find. I didn’t want just a bowl of chicken broth with a few sad pieces of avocado floating in it.

So I made it last night and, honestly, I don’t know that I’ll ever make another tortilla soup because there is no way that any of them will compare with this one. P ate three bowls of it and y’all know he never does anything to excess except for purchasing cases of bottled water, car wash supplies, Degree deodorant, Kashi granola bars, York Peppermint Patties, and any sort of weaponry and ammunition.

All that to say, I’m sharing the recipe with you because it is delicious and easy and it may have changed my life a little bit. None of which can be said about owning a pet ferret.

Tortilla Soup from The Mansion

3 tablespoons olive oil
4-6 corn tortillas, diced
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
4-5 tablespoons of chopped cilantro (I used a little less because cilantro and I are on sketchy terms)
1 tablespoon of cumin
2 tablespoons of chili powder

Saute all of the above until tortillas begin to crisp.

It will look like this:


Add the following to the above and simmer.

1 cup onion puree (per Antique Mommy, I diced a small onion and pureed it in the food processor)
1 large can (29 oz) of tomato puree
2 quarts of chicken stock
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cayenne Pepper to taste (I went with a fair amount of cayenne because we aren’t a bunch of Nancy boys)

To serve: top with any or all of the following: diced grilled or baked chicken, avocado, shredded cheese, crisp fried strips of corn tortilla.

I knew that I’d need to add chicken to my version because P is of the belief that vegetables are what food eats. He needs meat. So I bought a rotisserie chicken from HEB.


And when I went to check out, Lynette was bagging my groceries for me and held up the rotisserie chicken and said, “GIRL, you got to REPRESENT with the cooked chicken. It’s about workin’ smarter, not harder”.

Amen, Lynette. REPRESENT.

I diced the chicken, threw it in the pot, and served the whole thing with an array of options to customize the soup-eating experience: diced avocado, monterey jack cheese, sour cream and fried strips of corn tortilla.


And in the end, my bowl looked like this.


By the way, I fried those strips of corn tortilla myself.

Because I wanted to REPRESENT.

***Edited to add that you can just dice the onion into really small pieces if you don’t have a food processor or a blender to puree it.

***Also edited to add that to fry the corn tortilla strips, you just need to buy a package of corn tortillas, cut them into long strips. Heat up oil in a skillet and then fry the strips until they are crispy and a little brown.


  1. Amy D. says

    Seriously, I thought my tortilla soup from The Blue Corn Cafe and Brewery in Santa Fe, NM was good! I will try this one for sure! It is very impressive that you fried your own tortilla strips. I’m afraid of frying. Would love to know how you did that!

  2. Monica says

    I’m impressed that there’s no corn. Maybe it’s because I’m a yankee, but it’s been my experience that tortilla soup always has corn and I personally think that ruins it. Can I order a bowl to go with an extra side of strips? Those look fab!

  3. says

    Looks great! I may have to give that one a go myself. No veggie eating- Nancy boys here either:) And more rain on the way – yippee!

  4. says

    Sticking my New England neck out here and admit that I have never had tortilla soup.


    …..which surprises me because I have a severe addiction to nachos/tortilla chips and this is upsetting as I feel someone has been holding out on me as I am sure I would love anything that has tortilla strips involved in the recipe.

    oh, and TJMaxx had some adorable rain boots that I am sure you would totally rock….even in drought conditions. :)

  5. says

    I’m laughing because my husband loves to drive our kids crazy using the word represent. He says it with a little attitude like Lynette…he tells them he’s bringing the word back to which they reply, Dad, no one ever said that word in the first place.

    I am loyal to my wonderful tortilla soup recipe…this one sounds good but if I said I was making tortilla soup my family would expect my recipe which is also a lovely orangey/red….I may try this one but I’ll have to call it something else.

  6. says

    I totally fixed Tortilla Soup on Monday night. But mine is Trader Joe’s style, and requires significantly less cooking skill. As in, you open 5 jars/cans and throw them in a pot, a VOILA! you have perfect tortilla soup.

    Yours looks delicious!

  7. says

    Gosh, I cook a lot, have made all kinds of southwestern-y type soups, some with tortillas in them, but I guess I’ve never had “Tortilla soup” at least not that looks like this (but I’m from Mississippi). I am lovin than pureed onion and those crispy tortillas on top. Will try on our next cold day.

  8. says

    I have never had Tortilla soup either – our authentic Mexican selection in Atlantic Canada is somewhat limited.

    Don’t knock the pet ferret idea. I did not want one but we took one in because she was on her way to “the system” (ferret foster/adoption) and I knew she was potty-trained and gentle (I knew the owner). I put up a great fuss, but in the end she was a fabulous small house pet that you could play with and when you were done, put back in the cage. She was completely potty-trained, so smart and funny and was so tame. Bascially after playing my daughter would put her in the front pocket of her hoodie and Missy would curl up and go back to sleep. They sleep 17 hours a day or more. What a life!

  9. says

    I’m a new reader to your blog. I came across it when i googled American Girl:) I’m going to stick around I do believe! You are great at writing and keeping my interest.
    BTW the soup looks great. I like the pictures but how do you manage to do both? I made homemade butter yesterday and attempted pictures BUT i didn’t have my camera near by. That required me to hold the dish towel over the bowl, tightly, while reaching for the camera to which I couldn’t reach which then required i pick the bowl up, with the towel still being held tightly as to not loose the ‘butter’ that was being drained. OK so yeah got the camera only to realize the battery was low.
    Never a dull moment:)

    I’ll be back to read more!!

  10. says

    Looks yummy! I have never had tortilla soup, but that sour cream and avocado on top completely sold me! Looks great, and thanks for sharing with us. My LOL moment of this post was when you “lamented over not having cute rain boots” in a state that is in a drought. Too funny.

  11. says

    You had me all the way til you fried your own tortilla strips. That (and needing to own a food processor) caused the wheels to fall off my tortilla soup bus.

    When (if) I get a food processor someday then this looks delish!

  12. Trish White says

    I love the Mansion’s tortilla soup. They serve it at their brunch, which is just to die for!

    Glad to now own the recipe. Looks delicious. However, I will not be able to REPRESENT and fry my own tortilla strips. I just buy them in the produce area of my Market Street and they are fabu!

  13. deanna says

    Looks scrumptious! I could eat a bowl now.

    By-the-way, frozen pizzas are still a major part of breakfast at my house. Is that wrong?

  14. says

    I’ve never had tortilla soup with tomato puree in it. I might have to try that if the weather ever gets out of the 80’s here.

    Btw, the Amish make chicken & corn soup with dandelion leaves. Oh boy! Did I even find out the hard way that I’m allergic to dandelion leaves.

  15. Shannon says

    For those who don’t want to fry their own tortilla strips you can just put them in a layer on a baking sheet, spry them with Pam and bake till crisp. Works like a charm.

  16. Shannon says

    Looks great, the way you write cracks me up. And I have a husband that is much like P, and yes- absolutely I would need to add chicken, unless the soup is eaten as a side to a hearty meat. Preferably something he shot himself. If you ever need a delicious “rub” for elk steak- contact me. I try to avoid preparing wild game, but on occasion it’s impossible :-)

  17. Cindy says

    Oh Thank You a million times. I’ve been to Texas (San Antonio) one time in my life. I just so happened upon the best tortilla soup and for the past 7 years I have been craving that soup. Last week I was on a hunt to find a good recipe, but gave up. Yay!!!

  18. says

    You know….I don’t know if I’ve ever had tortilla soup. That makes me sad. Taco soup, yes…. I think this SW Ga family needs to be introduced to some Texas culture.

  19. Brittany says

    Big Mama – If you are still looking for some cute amazingly stylish rain boots you have to go to Academy!!!!! I am telling you – you will not be disappointed. And they are only $19!!! Can’t wait to try the soup recipe. Thanks for the post.

  20. Susan says

    oh, dear. I definitely don’t live in the southwest. Tortilla soup here in Missouri is orangey red but has black beans and vegetables in it. So, is it supposed to be just BROTH with stuff on top??????

  21. says

    I love love love tortilla soup, but I have to confess I like the chicken brothy kind, with extra cilantro. I hope we can still be friends.

    I would like to try this recipe, though. Maybe this is a good excuse for me to go to eat at the Mansion…you know, to broaden my culinary horizons.

  22. says

    I’m tottally representin’ with this recipe! Can’t wait to try it! I’ve been a freezin’ fool lately and this is one of my favorites!

  23. Kim says

    Your recipe looks delish! My favorite is a similar recipe but the red base is a can of tomato soup and rotel. And I never like my “tortilla” part soggy so I always just add the crisp chips or strips on top! I am so biased towards it that I have never even looked for other recipes but I may try this one…

  24. says

    Girl, you go on with your bad self. All kinds of representin’ up in here! I can’t wait to try this soup. The Mansion has amazing food, so I trust that this will not disappoint!

  25. says

    I have some of that soup in my freezer. Yes it is SOOO good! : ) I put some canned chicken from Sams in it though… totally takes away from the whole Mansion at Turtle Creek ‘thing’. But whatever. It’s goood.

  26. says

    That looks delish!

    But I have to say, I’m nervous about grocery rotisserie chicken. I don’t know why, but I always feel that they may not be cooked all the way.

    I know. I’m a food dork. But regardless, I’d still make it!

  27. Shelly in Austin says

    This looks great, but I’m still waiting on that dip recipe from last weekend! You promised!

  28. says

    I’m home and I’m sick and I would like some of that soup, please. If you could just bring some over. That’d be great.

  29. says

    Just a quick note to let you know how much I always love reading your blog. (and to let you know about an award nom over on my blog today 😉

  30. says

    “Vegetables are what food eats.” Well said P. My husband also doesn’t believe he’s had a meal unless there is meat in it.

    My jaw dropped with the “Where’s Target” comment.

    Monday was a soup day. I made homemade tomato soup and OMG it is GOOD.

  31. says

    Thank you, thank you for a good tortilla soup recipe! I have been lookng for one that didn’t involve a zillion steps. I usually find myself running for the hills….or the nearest mexican food restaurant. Whichever I find first! Anyway…I saw these adorable rain boots in Banana Republic the other day and although the aren’t Target priced I think they’re fab!

  32. says

    I have a tortilla soup recipe I’m quite fond of, but I’m going to give yours a try because it looks and sounds delish!

  33. says

    I’ve got an idea, you come up here to the frozen northland, I’ll buy you some kicky rainboots and you make me some of that soup. Deal? Deal.

  34. Katie says

    That looks really, really good! I think I’m going to have to try it b/c I have some cumin that I mistakenly bought for cinnamon and had no idea what to do with it. Cinnamon and I are on sketchy terms b/c it’s never in the right place. I’ve already made cinnamon toast with chili powder and now bought cumin instead of cinnamon.

  35. Pam says

    My husband L O V E S to shop….me NOT at all…it drives me c r a z z y!!!
    By the way I am one generation removed from the Amish culture….my dad was raised Old Order Amish in Illinois.
    Many of the teens and young families use public computers and secretely use cell phones.
    God Bless, Pam, South Bend

  36. Erica says

    Girl….that looks SO good! Lynette was so right, it IS about working smarter. I use those rotisserie chickens all the time for casseroles, etc. You better represent with those dishes too…I have the same ones! I’m really most impressed that you fried your own tortilla strips. They look so much better than my Mission tortilla strips. REPRESENT!

  37. says

    You crack me up!! I needed the laugh today and you gave it good with the part about it being like two strangers living under the same roof. That is hilarious!! I’m glad your hubby went with you to Target and I’m sorry you didn’t find any rain boots. We have some super cute ones up here in rainy Seattle, but we definitely need them more frequently than you do in SA. Have a blessed day!


  38. Nicole says

    OH I WANT SOME NOOOOOOOW!!!!!!! And I think the cayenne would clear my horrendously stuffed up sinuses (beats a neti pot, if you know what I’m sayin’). Looks like you reached your goal to REPRESENT, sista’!

  39. says

    no…no its not a deal breaker if your husband doesnt know where target is….I am quite happy mine is happy to deposit the paycheck and let me do the shopping and he will do the stuff on the farm….
    taking him shopping is an exercise in patience building.
    soup looks great but my monkeys would likely not eat it so will wait until daddy is home.

  40. Julie says

    Looks amazing!!!

    Just wanted to suggest that you add as a topping chopped chipotles in adobo sauce. AMAZING smoky hot flavor!

  41. Hilary says

    I just had to make this today since it is below 75 degrees in Beaumont! What is tomato puree? I just got diced? :)

  42. says

    ** Onion Shortcut** Use a cheese grater to mince up an onion. I use this technique when I want good onion flavor but not chunks. It releases a lot of juice so it makes the flavor better. It’s a secret ingredient in some of my best recipes!

    I’m definitely trying this soup. Good luck finding your boots.

  43. says

    Holy Cow that looks fantastic! I will definitely be printing it and taking the Mansions recipe via AM via you for my very own. It’s “cold” here too so it’s time for soup. And by “cold” I mean 68 but it’s quite windy with a wind from the “north” which means my open toed sandals were a bad choice today.

    Soup it is tonight!

  44. AngAk says

    REPRESENT. Hmmmm, must be a Southern thing, cuz, this way way Northerner doesn’t get it, and never heard it before. Do I need an interpreter? The soup though, no interpretation necessary. looks divine and overall warming. thanks.

  45. says

    I Love a good tortilla soup! And any soup for that matter when the weather starts to get chilly up here in central MN.

    AND, I’m pregnant and have been craving foods with FLAVOR and SPICE.

    I had to make this soup TODAY and there’s a pot of it on the stove top at this very moment. It makes the house smell a little like Casa Bonita and is making me very, very happy right now.

    Thanks for sharing! Love your blog!

  46. Deb Bongi says

    You are a miracle worker! I have tried and tried to interest our 11 year old dauther in cooking. We have finally digressed to offering to pay her if she will attempt something. Today was the day! As she was doing her math, I was read the post to her. She proclaimed that it sounded great and she would be willing to make it. It is now simmering, she is $5 bucks richer, she had fun and did a fabulous job. Thanks Miracle Mama!

  47. Vicki says

    I hereby vow to Represent by making Toritilla Soup because I have never in my life tasted tortilla soup but by heck this looks good!

  48. says

    You lost me at, “P and I went out to breakfast after dropping Caroline off at school.”

    This is when I realized you and I live on different planets. At least until fall 2012 when my youngest goes to kindergarten.

    And my husband stops going into work at o-dark-thirty.


  49. says

    Mmmmm…all it needs is some lime juice. Then it’s pretty much the recipe I make all the time—and LOVE!
    Antique Mommy got it right for sure! (well, her and Dean Ferring, who I imagine is the author of the recipe…)
    Love from Dallas!

  50. says

    Definitely making this this weekend. It’s going to be cold and rainy here (so what else is new?) and that soup will be perfect. Thanks!

  51. Beth says

    I was reading this fast and read salute instead of saute…LOL. So as I make it, I will be saluting the ingredients! Thanks for sharing. It looks delish!

  52. says

    Think I’ll try this one. Like you said, the Mansion won’t do it wrong. I have a tortilla soup recipe that has Masa and cheese in it, more like Chili’s. Thick and more enchilada tasting. Also have a beef tortilla soup recipe with chiles, corn and beans, and topped with fried tortilla strips. No place like TX for good Mexican food!

  53. Bev says

    Whew! Thankfully I live fairly close to the The Mansion, because for religious reasons, now that I have an empty nest I am opposed to recipes that require more than 3 ingredients and/or a trip to the grocery store.

    Thanks for the restaurant suggestion!

  54. says

    Ahhhh….Texas Tortilla Soup – and this version sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing.

    Would you believe that I am hard pressed to find an avocado in New England for less than $2.50?! Sweet and sympathetic friends have exported them to me several times through the years or smuggled them in suitcases. I miss H.E.B.

  55. says

    i live in san antonio and went to HEB today to get toritlla soup ingredients but couldn’t find that kind of chicken…where is it? i ended up just getting the rotisserie chicken in the warmer.

  56. Stacy says

    Girl, I’ve had this recipe for about 10 years and it’s my favorite too!!!!! How exciting to see it here:)

  57. Stacy says

    But………yours is a little different? Mine has you make the base and then skim off the onion and chopped tortilla bits before adding everything else. Maybe the Mansion has simplified the process:)

  58. Missy says

    Had to let you know I made the tortilla soup tonight and it was FABULOUS!!! I’ve made a different recipe before, but like you, didn’t care for it too much because it wasn’t that pretty orangey/red :) Thanks for sharing the recipe and next up is the dip!

  59. Jennifer says

    I made this yesterday. Amazing! Thank you so much for the recipe. It was perfect for a cold rainy day (that is what the weather has been like for the past 2 months in southeastern Pennsylvania…it’s like living in London).

  60. Christy S. says

    I’m with you on the rain boots – S.A. just doesn’t have a huge selection. However, I found mine at for $24 and they are adorable. Of course now it won’t rain again for 3 years.
    The soup looks awesome. When it rains again (in 3 years) I can’t wait to try it.
    Love your writing!

  61. Mary says

    I made this last night and it was so yummy. My husband just got back from Iraq and this was his first meal. He loved it!!! I am also trying to find the stuff for the best dip ever. I am lucky enough to live in a town with a H.E.B, but can’t find it. Can you tell me what aisle it’s on? Thanks!!! Love reading your blog everyday!!