This Chicken Enchilada Soup tastes just like the one at Chili’s, but you can make it at home in under 15 minutes.
I always order the same thing when I go to Chili’s for lunch: The Bottomless Soup and Salad. You get a big plateful of tortilla chips and salsa, a salad, and a bowl of soup.
I get a plain garden salad with no dressing and a bowl of the Chicken Enchilada Soup. I don’t eat them separately though. Instead, I ask that they bring everything at the same time. Then I eat the chips, salad, and soup kind of like deconstructed nachos. I take a chip, dip it in the cheesy soup, then I add some lettuce or tomato from the salad and finish with a drizzle of salsa. Brilliant, right? I think it’s the cheesy Chicken Enchilada Soup that makes this combination so delicious.
What’s In Chicken Enchilada Soup?
The Tex Mex flavors that we love in this soup come from the chicken, cheese, tomatoes, and chilies as you might expect. But there are two other ingredients that are really important: Enchilada sauce and masa harina.
The enchilada sauce gives the soup its name and is full of spices and flavor. The masa harina though, that gives the soup a toasted corn flavor that is really distinctive and delicious.
What Is Masa Harina?
Usually used to make tamales and tortilla, masa harina is a flour made from dried corn. It’s a very fine powder, finer than cornmeal by far. Most grocery stores stock it either in the flour section or in the ethnic section. But if you can’t find it, here’s a link to get it online.
The masa thickens the soup and also adds a flavor similar to tortilla chips to the whole dish. If you don’t have masa harina, you can get a similar flavor by adding fine or medium ground cornmeal. Alternatively, crushed tortilla chips will do the trick, you just have to let them soak up liquid a bit so that they can dissolve into the soup. It’s not quite the same, but it will do the trick.
What Kind Of Chicken To Use
This recipe calls for raw chicken breast cut into cubes that then cook in the soup. You can absolutely use chicken thighs instead though. Or, this soup is a great use for already-cooked chicken. You can use rotisserie chicken, leftover pulled chicken, or leftover roasted chicken. However, if you’re using cooked chicken you’ll want to add it in Step#6 along with the crushed tomatoes and enchilada sauce instead of earlier since you only need to heat the chicken through, not fully cook it.
I can’t wait for you to try this recipe. It’s one that I come back to over and over and I’m betting that it will become a family favorite in your home as well. Enjoy! -Christine xoPrint
This easy soup tastes just like the one from Chili’s. The distinctive flavor of this soup comes from the enchilada sauce, and also from masa harina, a corn flour that adds a toasted corn flavor to the soup. If you don’t have masa harina, add crushed tortilla chips to the soup instead and allow them to dissolve into the soup.
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make this soup, with some great tips along the way, by clicking the play button below:
Yield: 8 cups
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- 2 green onions
- 1 (14 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (10 oz.) can enchilada sauce
- 1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies (optional)
- ½ cup masa harina (corn flour)
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 10 tortilla chips
- Measure the stock into a microwave-safe bowl and put it in the microwave on high for 6 minutes.
- Pour the oil into a large pot or Dutch oven and put it over medium heat. Chop the onion and add it to the pot. Stir.
- Chop the chicken breasts into ½ inch cubes. Increase the heat under the pot to medium-high and add the chicken along with the cumin and salt. Stir and cover. Cook until white on all sides, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes.
- While the chicken cooks, chop the green onions and open the cans of crushed tomatoes, enchilada sauce and green chilies (if using). Drain the green chilies.
- Once the chicken has whitened all over, add the masa harina and stir. Slowly stir in the hot stock. Increase heat to high and stir well.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, enchilada sauce and green chilies. Stir. When it comes to a simmer, remove it from the heat and add 1 and 1/2 cups of the cheese. Stir.
- Ladle into bowls. Top with the remaining cheese, tortilla chips, and green onions.