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Fireside Chicken Tortilla Soup

The Tex-Mex classic that is Chicken Tortilla Soup gets a saucy makeover in this recipe, which stars homemade stock, smoky chipotle peppers, fresh-fried tortilla strips, and a drizzle of your favorite flavor of BBQ sauce. We topped our bowls with cheese, avocado, and squeezes of lime—we even tried (and loved) chicharrones sprinkled with our seasoning.


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Ingredients

4 pounds of bone-in chicken thighs
1 medium onion, quartered (leave skin on)
1 head garlic, top cut off to expose the cloves (leave skin on)
Olive oil
1/2 c. vegetable oil
12 corn tortillas
Head Country Championship Seasoning, Original or High Plains Heat
1 chipotle in adobo
2 Tbsp. Adobo sauce from the can of chiles in adobo
1/2 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 c. Head Country Bar-B-Q sauce, Original
1 14.5 oz can black beans
1 c. frozen corn, thawed
8 ounces salsa, either jarred or fresh
2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and either sliced or cubed
8 ounces Oaxaca or Pepper Jack cheese
Crushed pork rinds dusted with Head Country Championship Seasoning (optional)
2 limes, cut into wedges

Cooking Instructions

Drizzle olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Add onion quarters and cook over medium-high heat until charred. Remove onion quarters from the pot. Add chicken and, working in batches, brown all sides. Add garlic, the charred onion, 1 Tbsp. Head Country Championship Seasoning, and enough water to just cover all ingredients in the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 1 hour, skimming the foam off the surface of the liquid occasionally.

Add vegetable oil to a deep pan and heat over medium heat. Making sure the oil is hot before adding tortillas, fry three of the tortillas until crisp and golden and turning regularly. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels.

Cut the remaining tortillas into slices. Add them to the hot oil and cook, stirring regularly, until they’re crisp and golden. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels, season with some Head Country Championship Seasoning.

Transfer chicken to a cutting board to cool. Once cool enough to handle, pull chicken with your fingers or with two forks. Discard skin and bones.

Strain and discard the onion and garlic from the stock.

Peel the remaining onion quarter. Place it, along with the chipotle, half the cilantro, the adobo sauce, and 1 tsp. Head Country Championship seasoning into a blender or food processor. Crumble the two whole fried tortillas into this mixture, then add 1/2 c. of the stock, the salsa, and 1/4 c. of Head Country Bar-B-Q sauce. Puree until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the puree into the remaining stock. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer. Stir in the pulled chicken, black beans, and corn. Add salt and more Head Country Championship Seasoning to taste. Allow to simmer for 5-10 more minutes, then remove from heat.

Divide the soup between bowls. Top with cheese, crispy tortilla strips, avocado, chopped cilantro, and, if desired, crushed pork rinds. A squeeze of lime juice from the edges is a delicious final touch. Enjoy!

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