Chicken Tortilla Soup

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr 45 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
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One 4-pound chicken

5 cloves garlic, smashed 

1 onion, quartered 

2 habanero chiles 

1 jalapeno (with seeds), halved lengthwise 

1/2 bunch cilantro 

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus more if needed 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Serving suggestions: chopped fresh cilantro, halved cherry tomatoes, avocado wedges, queso fresco, tortillas and grilled corn


  1. Bring the chicken, garlic, onions, habaneros, jalapenos and 1 gallon water to a boil in a large pot. Skim the foam from the surface. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, skimming the surface frequently, until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour.
  2. Remove the chicken from the broth. Strain the broth into another large pot. Return the chiles to broth and discard remaining solids. Shred chicken meat and discard the skin and bones. Set the chicken aside for future use.
  3. Meanwhile, set the pot with the strained broth over medium heat and add the cilantro. Bring the broth to a simmer and cook until it reduces to 8 cups, about 1 hour. Discard the cilantro. Stir in the lime juice. Season with salt and pepper, and add more lime juice if desired. Return the chicken to the broth. Top with cilantro, tomatoes, avocado, queso fresco, tortillas and roasted corn, if using.