Chicken Tortilla Soup


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If you could put family and comfort in a bowl, this is what it would look like. Chicken tortilla soup always reminds me of home, even when I’ve made it half way around the world and it’s seen me through several horrific illnesses, like the one I had courtesy of my stepfather who brought it home from a trip to Asia over the holidays. I only thought it only appropriate to make it from my good friend, Bode, who not only nursed me back to health while I crashed at her pad on an impromptu trip to Los Angeles, but said not one negative word after she contract the virus from me two days before I left for Guatemala. It was the least I could do. From the shadow of volcanoes, buen provecho! 

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Crema is a Mexican crème fraîche-like product. It can be found in most major supermarkets in the dairy section. Time: 1:30, Serves 6.

1 whole chicken, sectioned into 8 pieces, skin removed
10 cups water
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrot, diced
2 celery stalk, diced
2 15 oz can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 jalapeno, sliced in half and seeds removed (for extra heat, leave the seeds)
1/8 teaspoon cumin seeds
juice of one lime
salt and pepper to taste

for serving
tortilla strips (recipe below) or broken pieces of tortilla chips
1 avocado, diced
lime wedges

In a large stockpot, combined chicken parts and water and bring to a boil. Skim off any crud that boils to the top and simmer for 20 minutes, partially covered.

Remove chicken breasts and set aside in a bowl to cool and continue to simmer remaining parts for 30 minutes, partially covered.

Add onion through lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste; simmer another 30 minutes.

Turn stock off and remove jalapeno halves.

While stock is simmering and after chicken breasts have cooled, shred them into bite size pieces with hands or two forks, pulling apart gently.

To serve, divide chicken evenly among 6 bowls; ladle 1-1.5 cups of broth and vegetables into bowls. Top with tortilla strips, avocado, crema and green onions and serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!

Tortilla Strips

6 corn tortillas
1 teaspoon chili powder
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400° F (205° C).

Cut tortillas in half and then into ¼ inch strips; arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with half of chili powder and a pinch or two of salt. Toss strips gently and repeat cooking spray / chili powder / salt combo. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Serve.


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