This green enchilada chicken soup uses tangy tomatillos, warm broth, and tender chicken. It’s the perfect combination of salsa verde, chicken enchiladas, and tortilla soup!
If you’re familiar with Dizzy Cook recipes, you know I love using salsa verde. It’s really easy to make your own at home and it pairs so well with steak or pork tacos and chicken taquitos. Typically I make tortilla soup the traditional way with a tomato broth, but during pregnancy it was really tough to find things that tasted good. This sauce is a staple for the green enchiladas in my cookbook (pg 137) and I make it often!
One day when nothing sounded good, I was trying to find a chicken soup for takeout and came across the Pollo Y Tomatillo from one of my favorite Dallas restaurants - Mesero. It really hit the spot, especially since anything sour and tangy seemed to cure my queasiness more than the standard ginger recommendation. I knew I had to recreate it when I had the energy, plus this way I could know for sure if there was any added MSG in the broth.
Tomatillos - these are best fresh so you can broil them, which softens them and gets a nice, roasted flavor. If you don’t have a broiler, you can also do this over a gas flame/grill, or just bake them in the oven till softened, however they won’t have that charred flavor. If you can’t find whole, fresh tomatillos, you can use canned for this recipe.
To prepare your tomatillos, peel off the papery skin and wash them under warm water to remove the stickiness from the skin.
If you’re following a migraine diet and can’t tolerate tomatoes, don’t rule out tomatillos. They actually come from an entirely different plant and are not just green tomatoes.
Poblano - I like to put this in the broiler with the tomatillos to soften and also get a nice char. Poblanos are a mild pepper, not as spicy as jalapeños. So don’t be afraid that it is so large!
Cumin, oregano, and coriander - these spices add really great Tex-Mex flavor to the dish. Coriander is the seeds from the cilantro plant and is really great in Mexican dishes. You can find all of these are any grocery store.
Broth - you can obviously use store-bought, but I highly recommend making your own broth to take this recipe to the next level. It’s really easy to make instant pot chicken broth and takes about 40 minutes!
Dairy Free - This salsa verde chicken soup is already dairy free, unless you’d like to sprinkle some queso fresco on top.
Gluten Free - I recommend using corn tortillas (or corn tortilla chips) instead of flour tortillas for the crispy topping.
Vegetarian and Vegan - This recipe would be great leaving out the chicken. Instead you could add extra vegetables, like corn, zucchini squash, or beans. I would recommend using the Vegetable Broth from my cookbook (pg80).
How to Make Green Enchilada Sauce
My favorite way to make this verde sauce, which is the base of this soup, is to broil the tomatillos with the garlic and poblanos. This gets everything nice, soft, and super fragrant.
- Start by peeling the paper skins off the tomatillos and washing them under warm water to remove any sticky residue. Pat dry.
- Turn the broiler to high heat and prepare a baking sheet with tin foil (this can help with some clean up. You don’t need to remove the skin from the garlic if you don’t want to. It will soften inside the skin and you can easily peel it off once broiled.
- Place the baking sheet about 6-10 inches away from the broiler, depending on your oven.
- Flip the tomatillos half way through. If the garlic and pepper have dark spots on them, remove them from the baking sheet. You want them to be softened and charred in spots, but not burnt all around.
- Cook about 12 minutes total, remove the skin from the garlic and dump everything into your soup pot.
- Don't worry about blending it until you add the broth and simmer. An immersion blender will make your life so easy as you can blend everything right in the pot!
More Healing Soups
I hope you enjoy this green enchilada chicken soup as much as I do, especially on days I don’t feel great. For other soup recipes, these are some of my favorites.
Green Enchilada Chicken Soup
- 1 pound tomatillos
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- 1 poblano, de-seeded and sliced in half
- ⅔ cup chopped shallots
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ pound cooked, shredded chicken *I use a "naked" rotisserie chicken, meaning no spices added
- ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- fresh tortillas or tortilla chips
- Preheat broiler to high heat. Remove paper skins and stems from tomatillos and wash under warm water to remove sticky residue. You can leave the garlic skin on for broiling. Place the tomatillos, garlic, and poblano on a baking sheet and broil about 6-10 inches away from heat for 6 minutes. Flip tomatillos and remove the poblano and garlic if softened and charred in spots. Peel skin off garlic. Continue broiling the tomatillos until softened and charred in spots, another 6 minutes.
- Meanwhile prep a large soup pot. Add the charred tomatillos, garlic, and poblano to the pot along with the chopped shallots and saute over medium heat about 2 minutes until the shallots have softened. Add 4 cups of broth, cumin, oregano, coriander, and salt. Stir to combine and bring to a boil, then decrease the heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Add chopped cilantro. With an immersion blender, blend the soup in the pot till it reaches your desired consistency (I like mine smooth). Stir in chicken and adjust any seasonings to your liking.
- To serve, top with crispy tortilla chips, or toast fresh tortillas brushed on both sides with a little bit of olive oil at 400 degrees F for about 7-10 minutes until light brown. They'll crisp up as they cool.
- Canned tomatillos can be substituted for fresh, but fresh are preferable.
- See notes in post for gluten free/vegetarian/vegan.
- You can find naked chickens at Sprouts, Whole Foods, and Fresh Market but any plain, cooked chicken will do.