Tortilla Soup from Food and Wine Magazine

by Hilary Gauntt on September 29, 2017

Lovely Pat was recovering from back surgery, and when I offered her a choice of soup deliveries, she pounced on this one. (Food a bit bland in the hospital?) I like this spicy and hearty version, full of chicken and avocado; but with the tortilla strips giving it a thickness and extra flavor. Living here in San Diego we have wonderful locally produced home-made tasting chips, and I skipped the step of sauteing tortillas and just used a bag of those. If you have an immersion hand blender( I think you need one -soup season is upon us!) you can blend the soup right in the pot. And thinking fresh corn would be a great addition to this soup!

6 Tbs. cooking oil

8 6-inch corn tortillas, halved and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips

1 onion, chopped

4 large cloves garlic, smashed

1 Tbs. paprika

2 tsp.s ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. cayenne

1 1/2 quarts canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock

3 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree (one 28-ounce can)

2 bay leaves

2 1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves plus 3 Tbs. chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

1 3/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4 inch pieces

1 avocado, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1/4 pound cheddar, grated

Lime wedges for serving,

In a large heavy pot, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Add half the tortilla strips and cook stirring, until pale golden color, about one minute.Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining tortilla strips.

Reduce the heat to moderately low. Add the onion, garlic, and spices; cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, cilantro leaves
if using, and one-third of the tortilla strips. Bring to a simmer, Cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes; remove the bay leaves.

In a blender, puree the soup in batches; pour it back into the pot. Add the chicken, bring the soup back to simmer, and simmer until just cooked through; just a couple of minutes. Stir in the avocado.

To serve, put the remaining tortilla strips in bowls, top with the cheese, and pour in the soup. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro, if using, and serve with the lime wedges.

Note: I also shared this soup with our favorite neighbors, Forrest and Rob, who returned my empty pot filled with heirloom tomatoes from their garden and this photograph below which is clearly out of my league. I may be trading food for photography in the future.

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