Mex­i­can Tor­tilla Chicken Soup

Kuwait Times - - FOOD - By Katie Work­man

Ifind it a source of great com­fort that pretty much ev­ery cul­ture, ev­ery cui­sine has its own in­ter­pre­ta­tion of chicken soup. The Mex­i­can ver­sion in par­tic­u­lar speaks to me, scented with chilies and spices like cumin and co­rian­der, rid­dled with slightly soft­ened tor­tilla chips.

In Mex­ico, whole chilies may be used, of­ten toasted and the crum­bled into the soup. I rely on dried chili pow­der, pure an­cho if you can find it, but in this recipe, reg­u­lar blended chili pow­der also works just fine.

Cook­ing the chicken breasts in the broth en­riches both broth and chicken, but if you are in a rush, go ahead and use about 3 cups of shred­ded cooked chicken, maybe from a ro­tis­serie chicken. Need one more short­cut? Skip the fry­ing of the tor­tillas; grab a bag of tor­tilla chips, lightly crush a few hand­fuls and use those in­stead.

The gar­nishes are what make this soup so spe­cial. Do not be timid with the of­fer­ings: An as­sort­ment of shred­ded cheese, diced av­o­cado, fresh cilantro, salsa and lime wedges will turn a com­fort­ing soup into a feast.

You can make the soup ahead - stop­ping after adding the chicken and keep it re­frig­er­ated for up to four days. Re­heat, adding the lime juice when you are ready to serve (and, of course, don’t fry the tor­tillas or prep the top­pings un­til just be­fore serv­ing!).

In­gre­di­ents

For the soup: 2 ta­ble­spoons ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil 2 medium-size onions, chopped 2 cloves gar­lic, minced 1 1/2 tea­spoons ground cumin 1 tea­spoon ground co­rian­der 1 tea­spoon pure an­cho chili pow­der 1 can (14.5 ounces) crushed toma­toes 6 cups chicken broth, prefer­ably low-sodium Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground black pep­per, to taste 3 skin­less, bone­less chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds) Canola or veg­etable oil, for pan-fry­ing 6 corn tor­tillas, halved and cut cross­wise into thin strips Juice of 1 lime To serve (op­tional, pick and choose): 1 or 2 av­o­ca­dos, peeled and diced 1 cup shred­ded Mon­terey Jack cheese 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves Salsa or Pico de Gallo 1 lime, cut into wedges

Prepa­ra­tions

Heat the olive oil in a large stock­pot over medium heat. Add the onions and gar­lic and sautÈ un­til tender and golden, 5 min­utes. Stir in the cumin, co­rian­der, and chili pow­der and cook un­til fra­grant, 1 minute. Add the toma­toes and chicken broth, sea­son with salt and pep­per, and bring to a sim­mer over high heat. Add the chicken breasts and lower the heat to medium-low. Sim­mer un­cov­ered (don’t let the soup come to a boil), stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til the chicken is just barely cooked through, about 12 min­utes. Re­move the chicken to a plate and let sit un­til cool enough to han­dle. Keep the soup gen­tly sim­mer­ing over medium-low heat.

Mean­while, pour the oil to a depth of 1 inch into a medium-size skil­let and heat over medium-high heat. Line a plate with a cou­ple of pa­per tow­els. When the oil is hot, add the tor­tilla strips in batches and fry, stir­ring of­ten, un­til they are crisp and lightly col­ored, about 2 min­utes. Re­move with a slot­ted spoon to the plate, and sprin­kle lightly with salt while they are still hot.

Shred the slightly cooled chicken, and stir it and the lime juice into the soup.

La­dle the soup into soup bowls and top with the fried tor­tilla strips, along with your choice of diced av­o­cado, cheese, cilantro, salsa and lime wedges.

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