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Family Style Tablescape: Houston’s Chicken Tortilla Soup

During the time I commuted from Bucks County, PA to work in New York we would always make it a point to keep our schedules open on Tuesdays to ensure we could get out for lunch. Why? Because Tuesdays are the only day Houston’s serves it’s Chicken Tortilla Soup. You may think, how can one recipe be that much better? Well I’m not exactly sure, but it is. Believe me.

The bad news: Houston’s doesn’t officially post the recipe.
The good news: I found a few other loyalists that have shared what seems to be pretty darn close version of it.

An Appealing Plan Houstons Tortilla Soup Recipe #sundaySupper

I did make a few adjustments and wasn’t able to find the thin tortilla strips they serve it with. Overall it is so delicious we had it for breakfast the morning after I made this batch.

Invite your family over and serve it family style to allow everyone to put as much or as little of the garnishes as desired.

Houstons Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe and Tablescape ideas @AnAppealingPlan - close up soup



  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup Masa flour
  • 12 oz. ground corn tortilla chips
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. ground chili powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp. ground black pepper
  • 4 quarts chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup chicken base
  • 4 cups shredded chicken*
  • 1/4 cups chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste


  • Avocado
  • Sliced Limes
  • Monterrey Jack Cheese
  • Additional Fresh Cilantro
  • Crushed Tortilla Chips


1- Melt butter in soup pot. Add olive oil, diced onion, and garlic. Sautee on medium only until onions are softened and clarified. Salt lightly.

2- In separate bowl mix Masa flour, ground tortilla chips, cumin, chili powder, and 1/2 tablespoon black pepper together.

3- Add the dry mix to the onions. Cook for a few minutes, until the raw flavor of the flour should have cooked out. Salt lightly.

4- Slowly add the chicken stock and chicken base.

5- Blend the mixture with a hand blender, until all of the flour pieces have blended out and the soup is completely smooth.

6- Bring the soup to a boil, and allow to cook/boil/reduce for a few minutes until the soup has thickened slightly and coats the spoon. Salt and pepper to taste.

7- Ladle soup into bowl top with chicken and cilantro.

8- Garnish each serving with plenty of avocado, crushed tortilla chips, shredded Monterrey cheese, lime slice and a few extra sprinkles of cilantro.



*Marinate chicken breasts in lime juice and salt, then broiled on low for a soft and flavorful chicken to add to the soup. Shred with two forks.

* I honestly can’t remember if the served it with or if I added the lime. But if you are a fan, lime makes all the difference.

X Houstons Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe and Tablescape ideas @AnAppealingPlan - table ideas


* Family Style service refers to placing bowls or platters of menu items on the dining table and guests are able to serve themselves. Bowls and platters remain on the table and are passed as needed.

* Stack Rustic wooden bowls and hand thrown earthenware plates. One for each guest plus a few extra for seconds.

* Offer each garnish in a separate bowl with a wooden serving spoon. Be sure to overfill bowls so guests feel free to add as desired without concern for taking the last bit.

* Offer additional course sea salt and ground black pepper in small rustic vessels with individual wooden spoons.

* Serve soup in bowl that will retain heat such as this wooden salad bowl from the 70’s. Refill the bowl to keep it hot as guests arrive.

The #SundaySupper family will be digging out their stock pots and slow cookers to serve up these amazing soups:

Do The Chicken Dance (chicken {or other poultry} soups)

 * * * * * * *

COVER-Krayl-An Appealing-Plan- FINAL-page1

And, if you are looking for even more ways to celebrate everyday check out An Appealing Plan the book.

Call it a trend or a return to the past, but I believe we are bringing back entertaining at home, lingering over a table after a lovingly prepared meal with friends. It has been a way of life and passion of mine my entire adult life, and I am thrilled to be able to invite you on this journey with me through a year of celebrating every day. Filled with recipes, tablescapes, floral inspiration and seasonal entertaining ideas An Appealing Plan :: A Year of Everyday Celebrations, is a dream come true for me a true honor to be able to share it with you. To learn more about An Appealing Plan :: A Year of Everyday Celebrations here. And of course, share how you are celebrating everyday.

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28 Responses to Family Style Tablescape: Houston’s Chicken Tortilla Soup

  1. Family Foodie February 26, 2013 at 9:52 PM #

    I still can not believe you lived in Bucks County! I so miss it! This soup looks incredible… on my must try list.

  2. Laura | Small Wallet, Big Appetite February 26, 2013 at 3:10 PM #

    I absolutely love chicken tortilla soup and I can’t wait to give this version a try

  3. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom February 26, 2013 at 1:44 AM #

    This chicken tortilla soup looks fabulous! Love all the photos!

    • An Appealing Plan February 26, 2013 at 8:10 AM #

      It is super tasty. Let me know what you think when you try the recipe!

  4. Renee February 25, 2013 at 2:34 PM #

    Beautiful table set up. I love family style and it is the way we always had dinner when I was growing up (and the majority of the time now).

    • An Appealing Plan February 26, 2013 at 8:09 AM #

      Family style can be more relaxed and less stressful for the host. A great way to start entertaining!

  5. Angie @ Big Bear's Wife February 25, 2013 at 2:27 PM #

    ooo nice! Saving this recipe now!

    • An Appealing Plan February 26, 2013 at 8:11 AM #

      Angie- it is so worth it! And it makes enough to freeze some for next week!

  6. Bea February 25, 2013 at 2:06 PM #

    This sounds like a total winning recipe! I love Tortilla Soup!

  7. Sarah Reid, CNP (@jo_jo_ba) February 24, 2013 at 9:20 PM #

    My mom had a soup like this over the summer at a country club and raved about it but I couldn’t find a good recipe. This looks like a keeper!

  8. Cindys Recipes February 24, 2013 at 8:41 PM #

    We make a similar soup at work and add the lime to the broth. Very refreshing Krayl!

  9. Conni @FoodieArmyWife February 24, 2013 at 4:08 PM #


  10. Diana @GourmetDrizzles February 24, 2013 at 1:53 PM #

    My favorite flavors… load on the lime and cilantro too! 😉 What a great recipe!

  11. Hezzi-D February 24, 2013 at 1:26 PM #

    I’ve never heard of mixing the tortilla chips into the soup. I can’t wait to try this!

  12. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen February 24, 2013 at 12:57 PM #

    Mmmm… it sounds amazing, I can see why you wanted to re-recreate it! I like that is has a thickener and all those spices and garnishes. Wonderful!

  13. Amanda @ MarocMama February 24, 2013 at 12:32 PM #

    I love soups where everyone gets to choose their own toppings. Makes everyone happy and a really fun way to serve a meal.

  14. DB-The Foodie Stuntman February 24, 2013 at 11:39 AM #

    I’m in Northern California and never heard of Houston’s but apparently I don’t need to go since I found this recipe. Looks delicious!

  15. Tara February 24, 2013 at 11:18 AM #

    This is one of my favorite soups. My mouth is watering!!!

  16. Susan February 24, 2013 at 10:42 AM #

    I love chicken tortilla soup! I must order it whenever I see it on a menu. Love your version!

  17. MLuisa My cute bride (@Mycutebride) February 24, 2013 at 9:53 AM #

    I have a lots (and I mean a lots) of remaining tortillas from my birthday party, I saw your soup… and I knew exactly what to do with them!! I’ve been willing for a tortilla soup since… I can’t remember.

  18. Jennie @themessybakerblog February 24, 2013 at 9:42 AM #

    What a beautiful tables cape, Krayl. Ooo, and I love the soup recipe.

  19. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts February 24, 2013 at 9:31 AM #

    I love chicken tortilla soup! this version looks amazing!

  20. Arlene @FlourOnMyFace February 24, 2013 at 9:27 AM #

    Love the tablescape tips! This looks like a great recipe I will have to try it soon.

  21. Jen @JuanitasCocina February 24, 2013 at 9:16 AM #

    This is right up my alley! Love tortilla soup!

  22. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers February 24, 2013 at 9:13 AM #

    I love the soup! Chicken Tortilla is one of my all time favorites! Yours looks beautiful!

  23. Shannon @VillageGirlBlog February 24, 2013 at 9:06 AM #

    Your table looks awesome! I love the lime with your soup. Fresh lime really brightens flavors. Yum!

  24. Lane @ Supper for a Steal February 24, 2013 at 8:05 AM #

    This chicken tortilla soup sounds delicious. I look forward to trying it. Great tablescape tips. I would have never thought of serving soup in a wooden salad bowl.

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