Tortilla Soup

A delight from Mexico

INGREDIENTS:
2 6 inch wheat or corn tortillas, not too fresh
1/4 cup sunflower or canola oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small Fresno or jalapeno pepper, veins, and seeds removed
1 28 oz can Roma tomatoes,broken up with a spoon
4 or 5 cups chicken stock, depending on how thick a soup is desired
1/2 to 1 tsp. salt depending on saltiness of your chicken stock
1 1/4 cups shredded or chopped, cooked chicken
1 ripe avocado
1/2 cup coarsely grated Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
Chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbl. lime juice and a lime wedge per person

YIELD: Serves 4 to 6

COURSE: Soups and Stews

CUISINE: Mexican

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Fry tortilla strips: If you are starting with somewhat old, dried out tortillas, great. If not and you are starting with relatively fresh tortillas, put them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven at 200°F for 10-15 minutes to dry them out a bit. It is best to start with tortillas that don't have a lot of moisture in them.
  2. Cut the tortillas in half, and then cut the halves into 1/4-inch wide strips. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a 3-quart pot. Working in three batches, fry the tortilla strips in the oil, until lightly browned and crisp. Remove the tortilla strips from the pan and let drain on a paper-towel-lined plate.
  3. Sauté onions, chile, garlic: Add the chopped onions to the pan, cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chopped chile and cook for 2-3 minutes more, until the onions and chiles have softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.
  4. Add broth, tomatoes, salt, chicken: Add the broth, tomatoes, and salt. Increase the heat to high, heat until the soup begins to boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and cook until heated through.
  5. Serve with tortilla strips and garnishes: To serve, pit, peel, and cut the avocado into 1-inch pieces. Divide half of the tortilla strips among 4 individual serving bowls; ladle in soup. Top with avocado and cheese; garnish with remaining tortilla strips and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.