We whipped up this simple, delicious soup last week and it was so tasty that it's earned a permanent spot in our meal rotation. It's hearty without being too heavy, and it's really quite healthy (well, except for the sour cream part which you can omit, though I don't recommend doing so.)
The recipe's fairly malleable. I could see a version with corn or hominy and some pureed Adobo chiles or even celery and bell pepper. It can be made vegetarian by substituting a good vegetable broth for the chicken broth, and adding extra veggies, potatoes, or beans in place of the chicken.
Make extra and bring a thermos of it to work the next day.
Chicken Tortilla Soup (Serves 4)
1 large bag of corn tortilla chips (at some grocery stores, you can find the ones that are already shaped like tortilla strips, but if not, just use your favorite brand of regular tortilla chips)
1 32-oz box or can of chicken broth (we like the boxed Pacific brand)
1 cup water
1 cup canned stewed or diced tomatoes with juices (we used Muir Glen's canned diced tomatoes with roasted garlic)
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 white or Spanish onion, finely diced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon dried or fresh oregano
Note: If you have a Mexican seasoning blend, you can use simply 1 teaspoon of that and omit or add very small amounts of the other spices.
12 ounces skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Avocado, sliced, and sour cream (or plain yogurt) for garnish
Combine garlic and onion in a large saucepan or soup pot. Sautee until onions are translucent. Add broth, water, tomatoes, bay leaf, garlic powder, cayenne, oregano, cumin, red pepper, garlic powder, and oregano to saucepan; bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Add chicken; simmer until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in green onions, cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately in large soup bowls. Sprinkle tortilla chips on top, crumbling them with your fingers as you do. Garnish with slices of avocado and a dollop of sour cream if desired.
Because the soup is so spicy, I recommend a little bit of Ciao Bella sorbetto for dessert.