Wednesday, December 26, 2012

King Ranch Chicken Soup...Featuring Red Gold Crushed Tomatoes

We have strange weather in Texas. One day last week, it was in the upper 70s…in December…really?!?!? It’s hard to get into the Christmas spirit when you have to turn on the a/c in the car when you’re out running holiday errands! Then…like a light switch…a huge cold snap rolled through overnight, which meant instant Christmas spirit at Casa Garcia! I bought marshmallows for hot cocoa, we popped It’s a Wonderful Life into the blu-ray player…and I sprinted into the kitchen to whip up a big pot of soup for us to enjoy with our movie! My good friends at Red Gold Tomatoes recently sent me two cans of their crushed tomatoes to create a recipe with, and I had been saving it for the next round of soup weather. I wanted to make something that would warm us up and fill us up! I did exactly that with my original creation: King Ranch Chicken Soup. It has all the flavors of everyone’s favorite King Ranch Casserole…in a satisfying soup!

This hearty soup is flavored with Red Gold crushed tomatoes, onion, diced chicken breast, green chiles, half and half, and a generous helping of cheese. Confession: I can be a bit of a cheese purist, but sometimes good old Velveeta is exactly what a recipe needs. Don’t judge: this is one of those recipes, folks! I bought a package containing 2 cups shredded Velveeta -- it melted perfectly into the soup and gave it the smooth texture I was looking for. To thicken the soup to a chowder-like consistency, I whisked in some cream cheese at the end. Each bowl of soup is topped with crispy tortilla strips and festive “confetti” made from diced roma tomato, green onion, and avocado. Yeah…this soup is as good as you’re imagining!

King Ranch Chicken Soup
a Weekend Gourmet Original
Step 1: Heat 1 tbs. olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 diced yellow onion and 2 cloves chopped garlic Let the veggies sweat and soften for about 5 minutes. Then, add 1 lb. diced chicken breast tenders, 1 tsp. black pepper, and salt to taste. Cook until the chicken begins to brown, stirring frequently. Add the following ingredients to the pot: 1 15-ounce can Red Gold crushed tomatoes, 1 32-ounce container chicken broth, 2 chicken bouillon cubes, and 1 small can chopped green chiles. Stir well to combine, and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low, then simmer for about 20 minutes.
Step 2: After the soup simmers, add the following ingredients to the Dutch oven: 2 cups half and half and 2 cups shredded Velveeta. Whisk until the cheese is completely incorporated into the soup. Add Tabasco to taste…I added 1 tsp., which gave the soup a medium heat. Add 4 ounces cubed cream cheese and whisk until the cheese incorporates evenly into the soup and it begins to thicken. This can take about 10 minutes, but be patient and keep whisking to avoid lumps.
Step 3: Make the “confetti topping” by combing the following ingredients in a small bowl: ½ diced avocado, 2 thin-sliced green onion, and 1 small diced roma tomato. To serve, ladle a portion of the soup into the bowl. Top with crispy corn tortilla strips – found near the salad area in the Produce department – or your favorite tortilla chips, slightly crushed. Spoon some of the “confetti” on top and dig in!
This soup is one of the best I’ve made in ages…I had two bowls, and so did Michael! This soup is a complete meal in a bowl: hearty chunks of chicken and crispy, earthy tortilla strips in a creamy lightly spiced tomato-cheese base. This soup is lick-the-bowl good…rich, but not overly so. If you’re feeling really indulgent, use heavy cream in place of half-and-half…I won’t judge! While you’re at it, feel free to add more hot sauce if you like your soup really spicy. The next time you’re in the mood for a filling, soul-warming soup, I hope you’ll whip up a pot of my King Ranch Chicken Soup! You can thank me later...


  1. This looks awesome, Wendy! I'm gearing up to make some soup, those Red Gold tomatoes! :)

  2. ooooooo this soup definitely looks perfect for a cool day. ANd not your typical hicken soup, I think I would definitely definitely prefer this over the original which is too bland for me. STAY WARM in TEXAS! That is an odd statement but I am happy the cold and snow gave you some Christmas spirit!

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  5. What could be better than a warm bowl of soup in horrible weather? I love the chicken and cheese combination. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

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  7. Great looking soup. Thanks for sharing with us at Foodie Friends Friday.

  8. Thanks for a great recipe! This soup is delicious and surprisingly easy to make, so glad I found it on pinterest!


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