Tortilla Soup Heats Up the JCC

by Sandra Lynne Schmutzler

A few years back, a group of friends were discussing the best foodie flicks. My friend Vickie V. recommended the movie Tortilla Soup, and I’m so glad that she did. It’s become one of my favorites.

And now I’d like to invite you to watch Tortilla Soup on Sunday, January 21, at 1 p.m. in the Jensen Center theater. The screening is part of the free movie series sponsored by our community center for the past four years.

This family story boasts fun music, excellent acting, and delightful surprises. The charismatic Hector Elizondo stars in the lead role as a recently widowed father of three rebellious daughters. He also happens to be a gourmet chef who has lost his sense of taste and smell. Major bummer.

The movie’s food preparation and presentation will likely inspire you to cook up some spicy Mexican cuisine yourself. (Trivia note: the food on the screen was prepared by Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, from Too Hot Tamales on the Food Network.)

Tortilla Soup is a warm-blooded winner with equal emphasis placed on taste buds and heartstrings and it will be heating up the JCC in the dreary dregs of January. Hope to see you on January 21.

Here is my friend Donna Z’s terrific recipe for crockpot Tortilla Soup. It’s easy and wonderful. Per Donna, don’t skip the garnish ingredients. They elevate this soup to the sublime. Enjoy!


The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 (46 ounce) can chicken broth
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 cups cooked chicken, shredded (I use rotisserie chicken from the deli)
2 Anaheim chilies, diced
1 Jalapeno pepper, diced
1/2 cup diced onion
3-4 large tomatoes, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce (I use the chipotle flavor)
1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper (optional)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 avocado, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, pulled from stem
1 lime, cut into wedges
2 cups crushed tortilla chips

Throw everything except the garnishes into your crockpot and let it cook on high for five to six hours.
Dress with garnishes and give it a squeeze of lime (a must!) and you're good to go! Enjoy!

If you are not using a crockpot, sauté the garlic and onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil before adding the remaining ingredients. Simmer for at least an hour so that the flavors mix together.

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