This Turkey Tortilla Soup is making me so happy right now. I’m usually quite critical of my own cooking, always trying to find a fault to improve on. But my Turkey Tortilla Soup turned out exactly how I wanted it to. There’s a beautiful balance between the spiciness of the jalapeno, the richness of the turkey, and the acidity of the tomatoes and lime. When submerged in the soup, the crunchy tortilla strips soften and act like a noodle. This is Turkey Soup 2.0!
Although I can never get tired of cranberry-turkey sandwiches, I wanted to create a more exciting, flavourful solution for turkey dinner leftovers. Inspired by the magnificent Tortilla Soup served at Tacofino, a West Coast taco institution, I set out to make my own Mexi creation.
I started with the base of the soup: the stock. On Christmas day, after we finished stuffing ourselves with our turkey feast, my Mom set about taking all of the turkey meat off the carcass – this is the hardest part. Then all there was to do is set the carcass in a large pot of water with garlic, onion, carrot, and a few peppercorns. We let the stock simmer for a couple hours, then strained off the solids, and separated into freezer-safe containers. We also removed the remaining meat from the carcass and added it to the containers.
I highly recommend taking the time to make your own stock. It’s a good way to make use leftover portions of meat and vegetables. You could easily substitute chicken for the turkey in this recipe. Or turn it vegetarian, and eliminate the meat altogether (thekitchn explains how to use scrap vegetables for stock). Either way, making your own stock adds a much greater depth of flavour to the final product. I’ve never come across a store-bought stock that replicates the richness of homemade, and I’m always disappointed when I use them. Plus when you make a large pot of homemade stock you can store extras in the freezer, so you have fresh stock whenever you need it.
In my version of Tortilla Soup, the garnishes are a huge component of the final product – especially the tortilla strips. I baked mine to make them a bit healthier. Everyone enjoyed snacking on the crispy strips, so much so that I had to hide them away. If you make extras, store them in an airtight container – they can be used as a healthier substitute for tortilla chips.
I hope you enjoy this warm, flavourful soup as much as I do! Please comment if you get a chance to make it.
Leftover Turkey Tortilla Soup
Baked Tortilla Strips
- 8 corn tortillas
- 4 tsp vegetable oil
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 jalapeno* minced
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 4 cups turkey stock
- 2 cups canned chopped tomatoes with juices pureed (optional)
- 1 cup water
- 1 540ml can of black beans (19 oz.) rinsed
- 1.5 cups shredded turkey (brown meat works well)
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
- 2 limes
- lime wedges
- cheddar cheese grated
- avocado diced
- cilantro sprigs
Baked Tortilla Strips
Set oven to 350°F convection (if possible) bake. Cut 4 tortillas into thin strips. Arrange on a baking sheet with parchment paper underneath.
Drizzle 2 teaspoons of oil over top, sprinkle with salt, and toss to coat.
Bake in oven for 5 minutes. Mix the strips around and then return to oven for a further 2-3 minutes, or until they're crisp. Let cool.
Repeat with remaining 4 tortillas.
Saute onion with vegetable oil in a large soup pot over medium-low heat. Once turning golden, add the jalapenos and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes.
Add spices to the pot and toast for a minute. Add the tomato paste and incorporate with the spice and onion mixture.
Add all liquids and the black beans to the pot. Stir to combine. Cover with lid and let come to a boil.
Reduce heat to low. Add salt and sugar, making sure to taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Add turkey meat. Let soup simmer for a few minutes.
Just before serving add the lime juice and cilantro, stirring thoroughly.
Serve soup in large bowls. Arrange garnishes, including the tortilla strips, so that everyone can garnish soup to their tastes. I recommend tortilla strips, followed by cheese, avocado, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.
*Leave seeds in the jalapeno to make the soup a bit spicier. I left the seeds in, and found the level of spice was perfect for my tastes. However, if you like things a bit milder, I would remove the seeds before mincing the jalapeno.