Mexican Tortilla Chicken Soup
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium white onions, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
- 3 ripe medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 quart chicken stock, recipe follows
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Canola oil, for pan-frying
- 8 corn tortillas, cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 2 avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, and diced
- 1 cup shredded Jack cheese, optional
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
- 1 lime, cut in wedges, for serving
- Chicken Stock:
- 1 whole free-range chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), rinsed, giblets discarded
- 2 carrots, cut in large chunks
- 3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
- 2 large white onions, quartered
- 1 head of garlic, halved
- 1 turnip, halved
- 1/4 bunch fresh thyme leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Place a stockpot over medium heat and coat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, jalapenos, and tomatoes; cook, stirring for 15 minutes until the vegetables are cooked down and pulpy. Pour in the stock, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 1-inch of canola oil in a skillet over medium-high flame. When the oil begins to smoke, add the tortilla strips in batches and fry until they are crisp on all sides. Remove to a paper towel-lined platter and sprinkle with salt while they are still hot.
Ladle the hot soup into 4 soup bowls and put a pile of shredded chicken on top of each. Top with the diced avocado and fried tortilla strips (and cheese if using). Garnish with cilantro and serve with lime wedges.Chicken Stock:
Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak. Toss in the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.
Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand-shred the meat into a storage container.
Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.
Yield: 2 quarts
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