chicken tortilla soup

1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
1 onion, chopped fine
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped 
1 Seraño chili, seeded and chopped fine

1 tablespoon chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 quarts chicken broth (8 cups)
1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken (shredded) 
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5-ounce), drained (I like the roasted tomatoes: it gives the soup a burnt look.)
2 tablespoons lime juice

Lime wedges for garnish
Salt and pepper

½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (2 oz) (or other mild, melting cheese)
Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Sliced avocado for topping
12 corn tortillas (You may use store bought chips, but these are not as good as homemade)

Canola oil for frying tortillas



Into the Salvia

  1. Bake tortillas in 200°F oven for 10-15 minutes to dry them out a bit. Cut tortillas in half; cut halves into ¼-inch strips. Fry strips in ½ inch of oil, ⅓ at a time, until light brown and crisp. Remove from pan; drain on paper towels. Reserve.
  2. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in chili powder and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add broth and chicken and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove chicken; cool and shred into small pieces.
  4. Return shredded chicken to pot along with tomatoes and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. To serve, top individual serving bowls with avocado and cheese; garnish with tortilla strips, cilantro, and lime wedges.