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Simple Chicken Tortilla Soup

Smitten Kitchen's Deb Perelman adds the works to her tortilla soup. Make this your own with your favorites!

I am a big fan of the Smitten Kitchen website, created by a young New York City woman who is married with two kids and has no professional culinary training. She is simply a brilliant cook with two best-selling cookbooks under her belt and a third on the way. I have to cherry-pick Deb's recipes because many of them are too "calorific." (I looked it up. It's a word!) To put it bluntly, Deb has way more fun with cooking than I do.

She posts healthy recipes as well, like this one for chicken tortilla soup, and it hits pay dirt with me. Easy to make, healthy and downright delicious. We're having leftover soup tonight for dinner with salad and I can't wait. That's how good it is. Deb's recipe calls for chicken thighs because they remain moist longer than breasts, but you can use breasts if you have them on hand.

Choose your own accompaniments: sour cream or Greek yogurt, chopped fresh cilantro, sliced avocado, pickled jalapeños and/or hot sauce. For those of you who aren't counting calories/WW Points, tortilla chips are a traditional addition. Champ crushed a handful into his soup and raved. I dolloped my soup with extra Greek yogurt and felt righteous. If you're a Weight Watcher, you'll understand.

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 large white onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. chili powder

4 Tbsp. tomato paste

3 to 4 cups chicken broth

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 (15-oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup fresh or frozen corn

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Juice of 1/2 lime

Heat a large soup pot over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onion, garlic and jalapeño and cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add cumin and chili powder and cook one minute. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until one shade darker, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add 3 cups of chicken broth and stir to combine. Add chicken thighs and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover, simmering for 15 minutes, until chicken is tender and cooked through. Remove chicken with tongs and transfer to a cutting board. Add beans and corn to the pot and gently simmer 5 minutes.

While the soup simmers, use two forks to shred chicken into bite-sized pieces. Season soup well with salt and pepper. Return shredded chicken to soup and warm through, one minute. If soup is too thick for your liking, add all or part of remaining one cup broth and bring back to a simmer.

Remove from heat and squeeze lime juice over.

Serves 4

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