The BEST chicken tortilla soup! It's made with crispy fried strips of corn tortillas in a tomato-based Mexican soup with chicken stock, chiles, avocado, Jack cheese, cilantro and lime. Comfort food at its best.
- 6 (6-inch) corn tortillas, preferably a little old and dried out
- 1/4 cup canola oil, peanut oil, or other high smoke-point oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium Anaheim, poblano or jalapeño chile, seeded, veins removed, chopped (Depending on the hotness and flavor desired. You can also mix chiles - 1 Anaheim and a half jalapeño.)
- 4 cups chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
- 1 can (14.5 oz) crushed tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted)
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea salt)
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1/2 cup (2 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or mild cheddar)
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
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 to 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.
Cut the tortillas in half, and then cut the halves into 1/4-inch wide strips.
Heat the 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.
2 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.
3 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.
4 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.