From Yahoo Food’s Cookbook of the Week: The Best Mexican Recipes by the editors at America’s Test Kitchen
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Serves 6 to 8
We wanted a recipe for this popular soup (known in Mexico as sopa Azteca) with authentic flavor and a streamlined method. Typically, the vegetables are charred on a comal (griddle), then pureed and fried. To simplify, we made a puree from smoky chipotles, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and jalapeño, then fried the puree in oil. We poached chicken in store-bought broth infused with onion, garlic, cilantro, and oregano, which gave our base plenty of flavor without a from-scratch stock. We oven-toasted tortilla strips instead of frying them. For mild spiciness, trim the ribs and seeds from the jalapeño (or omit it altogether) and use 1 teaspoon chipotle chile pureed with the tomatoes in step 3. For a spicier soup, add up to 1 tablespoon adobo sauce in step 4 before you add the chicken.
8 (6‑inch) corn tortillas, cut into ½ ‑inch-wide strips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 cups chicken broth
1 large white onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves, peeled
8 sprigs fresh cilantro
1 sprig fresh oregano
1-½ pounds bone-in split chicken breasts, trimmed
2 tomatoes, cored and quartered
½ jalapeño chile
1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, and cut into ½ -inch pieces
8 ounces Cotija cheese, crumbled (2 cups)
Minced jalapeño chile
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Toss tortilla strips with 1 tablespoon oil, spread onto rimmed baking sheet, and bake, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown and crisp, about 14 minutes. Season lightly with salt and transfer to paper towel–lined plate.
Meanwhile, bring broth, 2 onion quarters, 2 garlic cloves, cilantro sprigs, oregano sprig, and ½ teaspoon salt to simmer in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer gently until chicken registers 160 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer chicken to cutting board and let cool slightly. Using 2 forks, shred chicken into bite-size pieces; discard skin and bones. Strain broth through fine-mesh strainer; discard solids.
Process tomatoes, jalapeño, chipotle, remaining 2 onion quarters, and remaining 2 garlic cloves in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add tomato-onion mixture and ⅛ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture has darkened in color and liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
Stir in strained broth, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to simmer. Cook until flavors meld, about 15 minutes. Stir in shredded chicken and simmer until heated through, about 2 minutes. Off heat, season with salt and pepper to taste. Place some tortilla strips in bottom of individual bowls and ladle soup over top. Serve, passing garnishes separately.
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