Chicken Tortilla Soup

I have got to learn how to photograph soup better.  This picture does NOT do this soup justice!

In keeping with our goal of making a soup each week, I flagged this recipe from Pioneer Woman.  Ree's recipes have never led me astray, so there was no doubt in my mind that we would absolutely love this soup...and I was right!  This soup was delicious.  At first, I was a little worried that the 4 cups of water was going to make the soup, well, too watery.  However, as it sits and simmers, and after you add the cornmeal slurry, this soup thickens right up!

2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (I used breast tenders)
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 cup Onion, diced
1/4 cup Green Bell Pepper, diced
1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper, diced
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 can Rotel Tomatoes and Green Chiles
32 ounces Chicken Stock
3 tablespoons Tomato Paste
4 cups Hot Water
2 cans Black Beans, drained
3 tablespoons Cornmeal
5 Corn Tortillas, cut into 2-3 inch strips (I used flour tortillas)

Sour Cream, Diced Avocado, Diced Red Onion, Salsa, Monterey Jack Cheese, Cilantro

Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt.  Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of the spice mix on both sides.  Set the rest of the spice mix aside.  Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is done.  Use two forks to shred the chicken, then set aside.

Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a pot over medium heat.  Add the onions, red and green pepper, and minced garlic.  Stir and begin cooking, then add the rest of the spice mix.  Stir to combine, then add the shredded chicken and stir.  Pour in the Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, water, and black beans.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered.  In a small bowl, mix the cornmeal with a small amount of water.  Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes.  Check the seasonings and add more, if necessary.  Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes.  Five minutes before serving, gently stir in tortilla strips.  Ladle into bowls and top with any of the garnishes mentioned above.