In a very large soup pot, combine the chicken stock and the chicken breast and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Skim off the foam that rises to the surface during the first minute or two after it begins to simmer. Add the herbs, cover and simmer for 9 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the chicken cool in the broth. Remove the skin and bones from the breast, shred the meat and set it aside. Strain the broth into a large bowl, skim the fat from the surface, and clean the pot. Place the dry soup pot over medium heat and add the lard. Saute the onion and carrot, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes, or until just beginning to turn golden. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more, until its aroma is released. Stir in the chicken broth, ham, garbanzos, and epazote. Partially cover the pan and regulate the heat so the soup is simmering, for 30 minutes. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt, tasting to see if more or less is needed depending on the saltiness of the broth. Remove the herb sprigs. Add the chile and shredded chicken to the simmering broth and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Ladle the soup into warm bowls and garnish each bowl with diced avocado and a wedge of lime.
c.1997, M.S. Milliken & S. Feniger, all rights reserved