6 TO 10 SERVINGS
I first tasted tortilla soup years ago in Dallas, Texas, at the Mansion in Turtle Creek, a rather fancy restaurant, beautifully appointed, with a menu to die for. The chef took the very simple idea of using tortillas to give a unique Tex-Mex twist to his soup. Since then, I’ve ordered tortilla soup every time I’ve seen it on a menu. I love it, and I serve it often. It’s intensely flavorful and completely satisfying.
2 quarts chicken stock, homemade (page 64), or store-bought organic chicken broth
½ cup canola oil
8 corn tortillas, cut into strips
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped
½ cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
1 cup or 1 (6-ounce) can of red plum tomatoes
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups bite-size strips roasted chicken breast
2 medium avocados
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 fresh limes, cut into wedges
4 to 5 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped coarsely
Make the chicken stock first.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly coat a sheet pan with canola oil. Place half of the tortilla strips on the sheet pan and bake until golden and crisp, about 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add ¼ cup of the canola oil. Add the remaining tortilla strips and sauté until they have started to turn golden. Remove the tortillas from the pan and set aside.
Add the remaining oil to the pan. Add onion, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and cilantro, and sauté for 30 seconds. In a blender, combine the tomatoes, cumin, and onion mixture. Process until really smooth, about 2 minutes.
Transfer to a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the chicken stock and salt, and stir. Cover partially and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the soup is slightly thickened, about 30 to 40 minutes. Add the roasted chicken strips and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Dice the avocados into bite-size pieces.