Roasted Tomatillo Chicken Soup

It’ll put hair on your chest.

But I’m guessing you could use some right now. Some soup, that is. Though, who knows, maybe you might want a little hair on your chest, because winter is, indeed, back. And it’s cold.

Well, this will warm you right up. Fire up that belly. And set your little tastebuds’ fire alarms ringing.

I may have it easy when it comes to winter, but we finally got our share of freezing temperatures this week. When I let the dog out this morning and was greeted by a blast of frigid air, I was craving soup well before breakfast time. As soon as I could, into the oven these tomatillos went, to roast and soften into a smokey, spicy pulp. They were going to be perfect in a Roasted Tomatillo Chicken Soup.

I may have gotten a little overzealous, because I roasted a whole jalapeno, too, and threw it into the soup pot. Let’s just say, I was shivering one minute, and sweating the next.

The good thing is, you don’t have to add that jalapeno. The tomatillos do enough magic on their own. But if it’s cold and snowy where you are, and the windows are frosted over and you are craving some heat, you may have to just call in the big guns. I assure you, the peppers will do the trick.

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Roasted Tomatillo Chicken Soup

Yield: 4 servings.

The tomatillos, when roasted, round out their flavor into a wonderful, mellow heat. If you desire more, then add a jalapeno. If not, certainly leave it out. The dollop of creme fraiche will also help to tone down any fiery flavors. This soup is very flexible -- feel like making it vegetarian? Leave out the chicken. Beans and corn kernels would work nicely as well.


4 tomatillos, peeled and clean
1 jalapeno (optional)
1/2 cup cilantro, plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 leek, white parts only, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon cumin
1 skinless boneless chicken breast
creme fraiche for serving


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roast the tomatillos (and jalapeno if desired) for about 30 minutes, flipping half way. The peppers will be done when browned and soft to the touch. Let it cool for a few minutes, then place in a food processor with the cilantro and puree. If using the jalapeno, remove and discard seeds before pureeing. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil and cook the leeks, until softened. Add the garlic and season lightly with salt. Add the chicken stock, cumin and chicken, and bring to a boil. Let it cook until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and shred. Set aside.

Working in batches, put half of the tomatillo puree and half of the soup into the food processor and process till smooth. Repeat for the second batch. Return to the soup pot, bring to a boil and simmer. Adjust seasoning as necessary and put the chicken back into the pot and heat through.

Serve hot with a dollop of creme fraiche, additional cilantro garnish, and some crusty warm bread.

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by Liren Baker on January 18, 2012

20 Responses to “Roasted Tomatillo Chicken Soup”

  1. Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet } January 19, 2012 @ 7:56 am (#

    Liren – this looks and sounds simply divine!!! I think with the upcoming storm this weekend, I just might have to make this for hubby and me. Your photos are stunning. Have a great rest of the week and look forward to seeing you soon!! :-)

  2. lea davenport January 19, 2012 @ 8:09 am (#

    Sounds great! Can’t get fresh tomatillos up here. Maybe I could use canned and add some liquid smoke?

    • Liren replied: — January 19th, 2012 @ 8:36 am

      Hi Lea, sure, go for the canned/jarred tomatillos. You may not need the liquid smoke, but that’s a great idea!

  3. Holly January 19, 2012 @ 10:24 am (#

    This looks so fabulous. I wish I could find tomatillos where I live. I’ve looked everywhere. :(

    • Liren replied: — January 19th, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

      I wish I could send you some, Holly!

  4. Peetu January 19, 2012 @ 11:15 am (#

    This looks all kinds of awesome!

  5. Cassie January 19, 2012 @ 2:04 pm (#

    Beautiful soup, Liren! I love tomatillos but have never made soup with them, I bet it tastes as amazing as it looks!

  6. Joy January 20, 2012 @ 6:32 pm (#

    The soup looks wonderful.

  7. Jean January 20, 2012 @ 7:06 pm (#

    Liren, what a brilliant idea to use tomatillos in soup. It certainly has been cold in our parts lately. Now that it’s raining, too, I can’t think of a better way to warm my belly than with a big bowl of your soup.

    I replied to your comment on my blog but it warrants repeating: Your photography is fabulous and you are one of the people who keep me inspired. I’m still smiling from your wood in the truck comment! :)

    Have a great weekend.

    • Liren replied: — January 22nd, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

      Jean, I love how we inspire and encourage one another. I am so flattered and humbled at the same time – I just love seeing how we both have learned so much in the time we’ve been on this blogging adventure :)

  8. Cristina January 21, 2012 @ 3:25 pm (#

    I love tomatillos…was thinking about trying to grow them in my garden this year. They’re so flavorful and lend a beautiful green colour. Gorgeous, tasty looking soup, Liren. I’m definitely going to give your soup a try for dinner this week. It will be a welcoming meal during these chilly days in SD. :)

    • Liren replied: — January 22nd, 2012 @ 8:07 pm

      Tomatillos would be wonderful to add to your garden, Cristina! I really hope to start my own this year :) Flowers are well and good, but we really need to start a veggie garden :)

  9. Patty January 22, 2012 @ 7:06 pm (#

    The soup looks tasty and I would love to try but I have never cooked with tomatillos. I love the green “Verde” sauce at a local restaurant, I have said many times I could drink the sauce on its own, and it is not spicy, was wondering about the soup??

    • Liren replied: — January 22nd, 2012 @ 8:10 pm

      Hi Patty, thank you :) I think my soup ended up especially spicy because I had a particularly spicy jalapeno. I would suggest cooking the soup and holding off on the jalapeno addition, because it surely will be milder. If you want more heat, then you can add a much as you need!

  10. Chloe @ FatBurningFurnace January 24, 2012 @ 3:10 pm (#

    I had tomatillo soup a long while ago and I liked it but never found it anywhere else, let alone a recipe! So happy I stumbled on your site! I love the ease of how you make it sound to make. This looks even better because of the roasted aspect! Got you saved to my favs – going to be great for these colder months!

  11. Jill Mant~a SaucyCook January 25, 2012 @ 11:09 am (#

    OMG this sounds delicious!! And I loved the comment about putting hair on your chest; my dad used to tell me that all the time whne I was a kid. Do ya think he wanted a boy? HA! I love Tomatillo’s and will most likely throw in the Jalepeno, after all I am in Colorado! Cheers! BTW your photo’s are lovely Liren.

  12. Andy@31dayfatlosscure September 11, 2012 @ 10:42 pm (#

    it’s completely different with the common soup in my country….i think i should try it…looks very delicious, thanks :)

  13. Jenni November 26, 2012 @ 5:41 pm (#

    Awesome recipe :)
    Looks absolutely delicious! Here is a chicken soup you might like to try.
    Thanks for sharing,

  14. Stephanie September 4, 2014 @ 4:17 pm (#

    I made this a couple nights ago, and I can say from experience that it is SO. GOOD. I’ve actually never had tomatillos (or leeks) before, but my CSA box has me broadening my horizons every week. I did double the chicken and the garlic (which I almost always do), and I will say that the creme fraiche is absolutely essential. Also, use home made stock if you can!

    This is a new favorite in my house!

    • Liren Baker replied: — September 5th, 2014 @ 8:30 pm

      Stephanie, this makes me so happy! With chilly days ahead, I can’t wait to make it again myself :)

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