Chicken Tortilla Soup
Makes 4 servings
6 tablespoons cooking oil
8 6-inch tortillas, halved and cut crosswise in 1/4-inch strips
1 onion, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 quarts chicken broth
3 cups crushed tomatoes in thick puree, 28 oz. can
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, lightly packed
3 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped (optional)
1 3/4 pounds chicken breast, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 avocado, cut in 1/2-inch dice
1/4 pound Cheddar cheese, grated
Lime wedges, for serving
In a large heavy pot, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Add half the tortilla strips and cook, stirring, until pale golden, about 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining tortilla strips.
Reduce the heat to moderately low. Add the onion, garlic and spices; cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, cilantro leaves, if using, and one-third of the tortilla strips. Bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered, for 30 minutes, remove the bay leaves.
In a blender, puree the soup in batches; pour it back into the pot. Add the chicken, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook until just done, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the avocado.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, top with the remaining tortilla strips, and cheese. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro, if using and serve with lime wedges.
From Food and Wine