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Technique suggestions for thick chicken tortilla soup

I was on travel in Ft. Worth and had a nice, thick, chicken tortilla soup. The menu said that they fire roasted the tomatoes they put in there. It had a nice smoky flavor, a thickness of a good chowder (or a notch or two down from oatmeal) and it's something I'd like to reproduce in the home kitchen as I stockpile for an arriving baby.

I'm thinking of using tomatillos instead of regular tomatoes to give it a different flavor; and hopefully the consistency that I'm seeking. The goal isn't to "cheat thicken" either with corn starch or flour.

Is using tomatillos instead and then either throwing it in the blender for a bit or using an immersion blender during cooking the trick?

Thanks in advance for tips / advice.

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  1. Tortillas are used to thicken, easiest with a stick blender, but also possible in a blender.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rexmo

      Thanks. I'll give it a shot and see what happens.

      1. re: zinfandelfan

        We use about 2 uncooked corn tortillas, shredded up, in a batch of soup.

    2. i find when i shred the chicken it makes it thicker... also perhaps adding tomato paste..or puree

      1 Reply
      1. re: MegMD

        The stuff that I had was still greenish-tinged...so I don't think the paste or puree option is what I'm looking to go forward with. Plus, thinking about adding the chicken at the end so it has a chunkier quality to it. Thanks for the tips, though!

      2. Why would you think the Fla soup wasn't thickened with corn starch? It's a perfectly legit technique. The problem comes when they add large amounts and it turns out like all those clam chowders served across this nation.

        Otherwise, I think the idea of pureeing tomatoes is good, and adding tomatillos as well.

        1 Reply
        1. re: oakjoan

          While the soup didn't have a 'gloss' to it, the consistency didn't seem to be like thickening a gravy...the liquid had a translucent quality to it. Would a thickening agent have that type of effect?

        2. I thicken the soup with masa harina used to make corn tortillas. It thickens the soup and gives it a distinctive flavor.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Rhee

            i second this. if the soup base is thick, rather than brothy, this is probably what they do, IMO.

          2. Use corn stripped from a cob or canned. Simmer on the side in a bit of the stock. Blitz very well. Add to soup, let all simmer for a bit before serving.

            1. i thicken with fried tortilla strips (same i use to garnish). blend em right in

              1. I tear up corn tortillas and put them into the soup.....after simmering for awhile (and stirring frequently so they don't stick to the bottom), they totally become incorporated into the soup (thickens really well AND adds that "corn" flavor). Top with fried tortilla strips, as well, of course!!!