Recipe: Use hominy to give tortilla soup an earthy, nutty flavor

This straightforward version of tortilla soup comes together quickly. White or yellow canned hominy packs the mix with flavor. Made from dried maize kernels that have been treated with an alkali, hominy lends a fitting earthiness and nutty corn flavor.

Add-on garnishes play an important role as well. Broken tortilla chips, fresh cilantro, and lime wedges contribute both flavor and texture. When I’m in a decadent mood, I also add diced avocado and a dollop of sour cream.

Chicken Tortilla Soup with Poblanos and Hominy

Yield: 2 servings, can be doubled


1 tablespoon canola oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 poblano chilies, stemmed, seeded, chopped; see cook’s notes

1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 cup water

1 (15-ounce) can white (or yellow) hominy, rinsed

4 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast or tenderloins, trimmed if needed

Salt and pepper to taste

Garnishes: 2 cups (2 ounces) tortilla chips, broken into approximately 1-inch pieces, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, lime wedges

Cook’s notes: Poblanos are fresh chilies that vary in spicy heat (Scoville units 1,000 to 3,000), generally milder than jalapenos. Sometimes they are labeled “pasilla.” They have dark forest-green skin and thick flesh. Upon completion of working with fresh chilies, wash hands and work surface and do NOT touch eyes or face.


1.  Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering (use a Dutch oven if doubling). Add onion and poblanos; cook until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in chili powder and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Stir in broth, water, hominy, and chicken, bring to simmer. Simmer until chicken is cooked through (registers 160 degrees), 5 to 10 minutes (time varies due to size of chicken). Transfer chicken to cutting board, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-size pieces using 2 forks.

3. Return soup to simmer, stir in shredded chicken, and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Taste: season with salt and pepper. Top each portion with 1 cup tortilla chips and 1 tablespoon cilantro. Serve with lime wedges. At my house, I provide some hot sauce on the table for those who want to increase the spicy heat.

Source: “The Everyday Athlete Cookbook” by America’s Test Kitchen (America’s Test Kitchen, $29.99)

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