- 6 tablespoons cooking oil
- 8 6-inch corn tortillas, halved and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 1/2 quarts canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
- 3 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree (one 28-ounce can)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup lightly-packed cilantro leaves plus 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional)
- 1 3/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1 avocado, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1/4 pound cheddar, grated
- Lime wedges, for serving
How to make this recipe
- In a large heavy pot, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Add half the tortilla strips and cook, stirring, until pale golden, about 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining tortilla strips.
- Reduce the heat to moderately low. Add the onion, garlic, and spices; cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, cilantro leaves, if using, and one-third of the tortilla strips. Bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes; remove the bay leaves.
- In a blender, puree the soup in batches; pour it back into the pot. Add the chicken, bring the soup back to a simmer, and simmer until just cooked through, about 1 minute. Stir in the avocado.
- To serve, put the remaining tortilla strips in bowls, top with the cheese, and pour in the soup. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro, if using, and serve with the lime wedges.
A Rioja Reserva, with its complex combination of spicy, earthy, and fruity flavors, will echo the taste of the soup beautifully.