Cafe Rio Style Chicken Tortilla Soup

The other day I came across a recipe for Cafe Rio’s Chicken Tortilla Soup, and just had to try it! When I lived in Orem, Utah – where cafe rio was right around the corner – my husband and I used to go ALL the time, and order the same thing over and over, but I thought it would be fun to try something new… and make it myself, since we can’t go there whenever we want any more! :-( I was expecting this to be delicious… it is cafe rio! But what I wasn’t expecting, was for this recipe to become my new favorite soup of ALL TIME! I am absolutely LOVING this recipe, and can’t get enough of it! So as usual, I hope you guys love it too!!!

Ingredients: {recipe adapted from favfamilyrecipes}
{for the soup}
1 onion, diced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp paprika
5 c. chicken bouillon
3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
juice of 1/2 lime
pepper, to taste
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
{for the chicken}
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
{Pico de Gallo}
4-5 plum tomatoes, finely diced
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt (or to taste)
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped (if you aren’t big into cilantro, use 1/2 bunch)
1 jalapeño, chopped fine
juice of 1/2 lime
5-6 shakes green Tabasco sauce
{for the tortilla chips}
tortillas
olive oil
{to serve}
2-3 avocados, diced
mexican blend cheese
cilantro
lime wedges

Directions:
Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the cumin, cayenne, chili powder and paprika, and stir for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the chicken bouillon, cilantro, pepper and pinto beans, and simmer for 10 minutes while you prepare the chicken.

Heat another Tbsp olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. Season the chicken generously all over with taco seasoning, and cook for 5 minutes per side, or until no longer pink in the center, then cut into bite-sized pieces.

For the pico de gallo, combine the plum tomatoes, kosher salt, onion, garlic, cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice and tobacco sauce in a bowl, and stir to combine. {Add another jalapeño to make it even spicier}.

For the tortilla strips: Preheat the oven to 400degF. Lightly brush both sides of the tortillas with olive oil. Cut into strips and place on a baking tray. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crispy.

In individual bowls layer the chicken, 1/3 c. pico de gallo {or more, according to desired heat}, 1/3 c. diced avocado, and 1/3 cup mexican blend cheese. Ladle 1 cup of the broth over the layers, and top with tortilla strips, cilantro and lime wedges and serve immediately!

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<3 Sarah