I don't think I've ever set foot in a Chili's. I certainly won't now, since Bob Torres wrote about them in Vegan Freak and said that there is absolutely NOTHING on the menu that even comes close to vegan. I haven't spent any time looking at their menu for any signs of a salad, so I cannot confirm nor deny that assertion.
When I searched, "favorite dish at Chili's," this came up a number of times on copycat recipe sites. I figured out the gist of what I needed to do to make it work, and it was very easy: no precise measurements needed. It's all about taste.
Here's a picture of the original soup here (it's the one on the right).
See those tortilla strips on top? Yeah. I couldn't find those fuckers anywhere. I was going to order them online, but the smallest amount I could order was a case of nine bags. I wasn't planning to open a vegan Chili's anytime soon, so I enlisted the help of anyone who'd listen that if they saw these things somewhere, just get them. Don't call me and say, "Hey, I'm in a corner store in Maple Grove, they got 'em!" Just get them. I'll make you soup. No one did. Then, I had Shannon stop at Cub for me to pick up Pillsbury crescent dough, and what did they have in the produce section?
After doing a quick label check, I did a little dance in the natural food aisle.
Not-Chicken Enchilada Soup
Makes 6-8 servings
1/2 diced onion
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
16 oz not-chicken broth
2 cups water (divided)
1/2 cup masa harina
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
few shots of Frank's Red Hot
1 container Wayfare's "We Can't Say It's Cheese" cheddar spread
1/2 cup shredded vegan cheddar (I used Daiya)
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 cup chopped chick'n (Trader Joe's has a good one called "Chickenless Chicken strips," but you can also use the Morningstar or chop up the Gardein scallopine chick'n)
Vegan sour cream
Pico de gallo
Cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft. Stir in the broth, and turn up the heat. As you wait for it to boil, whisk the masa harina into one cup of water. Add that to the pot with the other cup of water. Add salt and spices. Stir in the cheeze. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, stirring until the cheeze is melted and blended in and the masa is cooked (about 10 minutes). Stir in the tomatoes and chick'n. Taste for salt/spice. Serve garnished with pico, vegan sour cream, and tortilla strips.