When I moved to New York City, I craved a chicken tortilla soup like I used to find back home in Arizona. So, I made my own version with rotisserie chicken and packed it with flavor, using chipotle, tomatoes, garlic, cumin and coriander. Don't forget the toppings! I go for cilantro, avocado, queso fresco and lime juice with fresh, crispy tortilla strips.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper and cook until very tender and browned in spots, about 6 minutes. Add the coriander and cumin and cook until the spices have toasted slightly and become fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of the chicken broth, then scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Remove from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes or so, then transfer it to a blender. Add the tomatoes, chipotle, the torn tortillas, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Put the lid on, leaving one corner open. Cover the lid with a kitchen towel to catch splatters, and pulse until smooth, about 1 minute.
Pour the soup back into the pot and stir in the remaining 3 cups chicken broth, 2 cups water and the shredded chicken. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to medium-low and gently simmer until the chicken is very tender and the soup has thickened slightly, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour oil into a large heavy-bottomed pot to a depth of 2 inches. Place over medium heat and heat to 365 degrees F. Add the tortilla strips, in two batches, and fry until golden brown and crisp, about 1 minute. Drain on a paper-towel-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.
Add the lime juice to the soup, then season with salt and pepper. Ladle into soup bowls, top with the crispy tortilla strips, reserved diced onion, cilantro, avocado and queso fresco. Serve with remaining lime wedges.
We opted to use 1 small chipotle in this tortilla soup, so it has a little bit of warmth but is still family friendly. However, if you're looking for more spice, add 1 teaspoon of the adobo sauce at a time until desired heat-level is achieved.
When blending hot liquid, first let it cool for five minutes or so, then transfer it to a blender, filling only halfway. Put the lid on, leaving one corner open. Cover the lid with a kitchen towel to catch splatters, and pulse until smooth.