Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Yield: 6 servings


In this tortilla soup, chicken and broth are simmered with cilantro for Southwestern flair. The hot soup is topped with strips of toasted tortillas, sour cream, and guacamole.


1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast halves (3 to 4 pieces)

2 cups cilantro stems and sprigs plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

2 14 1/2-ounce cans low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat

3 cups water

1 1/2 tablespoons corn oil

4 plum tomatoes

2 small onions, halved lengthwise (unpeeled)

4 garlic cloves (unpeeled)

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels

3/4 cup rinsed, drained canned chickpeas

5 fresh corn tortillas (5 1/2-inch diameter), cut in 1/4-inch-wide strips

1/2 small avocado

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon minced jalapeno

3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream


1. In a large saucepan, combine chicken, 2 cups cilantro, broth, and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently until chicken is just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate; let cool. Cut into 1/2-inch dice. Strain broth through a fine strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth; reserve. Wipe out pot.

2. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a cast-iron skillet on medium-high until hot. Add 3 tomatoes, onions, and garlic; cover and cook, turning vegetables occasionally, until skins are nicely charred, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. When vegetables are cool enough to handle, remove skins, stems, and cores; discard. Place tomatoes, onions, and garlic in a blender with 1/2 cup reserved broth; blend until smooth. Scrape mixture into saucepan; cook, stirring, over medium heat until thickened and darker, about 6 minutes. Stir in remaining broth, 1/4 teaspoon salt, corn, chickpeas, and chicken. Remove from heat.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place tortilla strips on a rimmed baking sheet; toss with remaining tablespoon oil and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Bake until golden and crisp, about 12 minutes, turning once or twice. Cool.

4. Finely dice avocado; gently rinse with cold water. Place in a bowl. Finely dice remaining tomato, and add to avocado with lime juice, jalapeno, chopped cilantro, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt. Re-warm soup; ladle into bowls. Garnish with avocado mixture, sour cream, and tortilla strips.


Steps one and two can be done up to a day ahead; refrigerate until ready to serve.