Hello and welcome to Djalali Cooks! Today’s post is kind of a two-parter. The first part is an easy chicken meal prep; then we will use half of the prepped chicken for today’s recipe and the other half for tomorrow’s recipe. So maybe it’s more of a three-parter! For today, we are going to turn seasoned, baked chicken thighs into a flavorful Chicken Tortilla Soup; with black beans and corn. Let’s bake off some chicken thighs!
When I was single and commuting to an office job everyday, Sundays were my meal prep days. I would bake a tray of chicken thighs, seasoned simply with salt and pepper or I would do half of the thighs marinated in soy sauce. If I knew I wanted to make Mexican-inspired lunches for myself, I would bake the chicken rubbed with a homemade sazón blend of spices. That’s the direction we are going today.
Sazón is a spice blend common in Hispanic cuisine. it’s a mixture of coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric, garlic powder, kosher salt, oregano, onion powder and cayenne. The recipe I will provide will make more than you will need for 2 pounds of chicken thighs, so save the remaining seasoning for another use. It’s a great spice blend to have on hand.
Season both sides of the chicken thighs with sazón and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. You can either stop here and save the chicken thighs for meals through the week, or continue with me to make Chicken Tortilla Soup.
Sazón Chicken Tortilla Soup
This is a really simple soup. I have a special ingredient though, that really makes this soup rich and flavorful – roasted tomatillos; blended with garlic and lime juice. The acid from the tomatillos and lime amp up the rest of the flavors and gives this version of Chicken Tortilla Soup a complex flavor.
Over medium heat, heat a drizzle of olive oil and sauté the diced onion until it begins to turn translucent. then add the minced or pressed garlic, stir and cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds. Then toss the seasonings with the onions and the garlic. Heat the seasoning with the onions and garlic for about 30 seconds.
Add the whole can of diced tomatoes and their juice to the pot. Then add the 4 cups of chicken broth. Give this all a good stir and bring to a low boil. Then reduce the heat and let simmer. While this is simmering, make the roasted tomatillos.
If you can’t find fresh tomatillos, you can substitute with fresh tomatillo salsa. I cut 8 tomatillos into quarters before drizzling them with olive oil and sprinkling with Kosher salt. Set the oven to broil and place the pan of tomatillos on the rack about 6-inches below the heating element. Broil for about 5-8 minutes, keep an eye on them and pull them out when the skin develops spotty brown blistering. When you pull the tomatillos, switch the oven to bake and preheat to 400 degrees.
In a blender, blend the tomatillos, 2-3 garlic cloves and the juice of one lime (about 3 tablespoons) to a smooth consistency. We are looking for about 1 cup of tomatillo puree.
Back to the Soup
By now the soup has been simmering for about 15 minutes. Add the diced peppers; I have 2 small jalapeños from my garden and two tiny poblano peppers, also from my garden. You can use 1 medium-sized poblano and 1 medium-to-large jalapeño. Leave the seeds and ribs of the jalapeño intact for more heat. Or remove them for less. Then pour in the tomatillo puree.
Give the soup a good stir and let simmer for another 5 minutes. Then add 1 pound of our sazón chicken thighs, cubed.
Stir the soup and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Then taste the soup for seasoning. Add more Kosher salt to taste. Then add about 1 cup of frozen corn and one can of drained and rinsed black beans.
Let this simmer for another 10 minutes, while we prepare the toasted corn tortilla strips.
The Tortilla Part of the Sazón Chicken Tortilla Soup
Take several corn tortillas and stack them together. Then slice in half and stack the halved pieces on top of each other. Then slice into 1/4-inch strips. I only did three tortillas, you can slice up as many as you like.
Line a sheet tray with parchment and scatter the tortilla strips in a single layer on the parchment and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until the strips are golden, toasty and crispy– keep an eye on them!
Serve each portion with a handful of tortilla strips, fresh cilantro and grated pepper jack cheese. The cheese is optional, and you can substitute with Cotija, or queso fresco, if you like.
Warm and hearty, this tomatoey soup is spicy, savory and full of amazing flavor. It’s just perfect for fall! The chicken is succulent; I love the salty crunch of the tortilla strips and the cheese adds a smooth richness. I left all the jalapeño seeds and ribs, so this soup is spicy enough to make my cheeks flush – which is just how I like it!
Thank you all so much for joining me today for Sunday Supper. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for the second recipe with our sazón chicken thighs. As we head into October, I thought it might be nice to revisit my Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe from last year. If you missed it, check it out – it’s a great fall recipe! Until tomorrow, take care and be well everyone! xo Kelly
Sazón Chicken Tortilla Soup
Warm and hearty, tomato-based Chicken Tortilla Soup is spicy, rich and full of flavor. Crispy tortilla strips add crunch. A perfect Fall soup!
- Sazón Chicken
- 2 lbs. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
- 1 tbsp. Ground Coriander
- 1 tbsp. Ground Cumin
- 1.5 tbsp. Turmeric
- 1.5 tbsp. Paprika
- 1 tbsp. Garlic Powder
- 1 tbsp. Kosher Salt
- 2 tsp. Dried Oregano
- 1 tsp. Onion Powder
- 1 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
- Tomatillo Puree
- 6-8 Fresh Tomatillos, papery outer skin removed, washed and quartered
- Drizzle of Olive Oil
- 2 Pinches of Kosher Salt
- 2-3 Garlic Cloves, smashed
- Juice of 1 Lime (about 3 tablespoons)
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
- 1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
- 3-4 Garlic Cloves, minced or pressed
- 1 tbsp. Chili Powder
- 2 tsp. Cumin
- 2 tsp. Kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tsp. Black Pepper
- 1 tsp. Paprika
- 1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
- 1 28-oz. Can of Diced Tomatoes and their Juice
- 4 cups Chicken Broth
- 1 medium to large Jalapeño, diced (seeds and ribs removed, if you want it less spicy)
- 1 medium Poblano Pepper, diced (seeds and ribs removed, if you want it less spicy)
- 1 cup Tomatillo Puree (or fresh tomatillo salsa)
- 1 lb. Sazón Chicken Thighs, cubed
- 1 cup Frozen Corn Kernels
- 1 15.5-oz. Can of Black Beans, drained and rinsed
- 6-10 Corn Tortillas, sliced into strips
- Drizzle of Olive Oil
- Pinch of Kosher Salt
- Cilantro, for garnish
- Grated Pepper Jack Cheese, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine the spices in a jar and shake vigorously to mix well. After seasoning the chicken, save the rest of the seasoning blend in an airtight container.
Season both sides of the chicken thighs with sazón and bake for about 20 minutes. You can either stop here and save the chicken thighs for meals through the week, or continue with me to make Chicken Tortilla Soup.
Set the oven to broil and position the top rack 6 inches below the heating element.
Quarter the tomatillos and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt.
Broil for about 5-8 minutes, keep an eye on them and pull them out when the skin develops spotty brown blistering. When you pull the tomatillos, switch the oven to bake and preheat to 400 degrees.
Combine the garlic, lime juice and roasted tomatillos in a blender and blend to a smooth puree. Set aside.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Over medium heat, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot. Add the diced onions to the pot and sauté until the onion becomes translucent.
Add the minced garlic and cook while stirring for about 30 seconds.
Then add the chili powder, cumin, Kosher salt, black pepper, paprika and cayenne to the onions and garlic. Cook while stirring for another 30 seconds.
Pour the can of tomatoes with their juice into the pot and then the 4 cups of chicken broth. Stir and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to keep at a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
Add the peppers and the tomatillo puree. Stir and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Then add the sazón chicken and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Taste the soup for seasoning. Add more Kosher salt to taste. Then add about 1 cup of frozen corn and one can of drained and rinsed black beans. Let simmer for 10 minutes more, then remove from heat.
Take several corn tortillas and stack them together. Then slice in half and stack the halved pieces on top of each other. Then slice into 1/4-inch strips.
Line a sheet tray with parchment and scatter the tortilla strips in a single layer on the parchment and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until the strips are golden, toasty and crispy
Serve each portion with a handful of tortilla strips, fresh cilantro and grated pepper jack cheese.