This is the second time I've made tortilla soup on this blog. My previous recipe uses tomatoes, but this one has a clear broth flavoured with chipotle peppers in adobo and cilantro.
It starts with a broth made from whole chicken legs, onions and garlic and adds a few beef bones for extra meaty flavour.
While the broth is simmering, fry two whole tortillas and 4 tortillas cut into strips.
After simmering for an hour, the chicken is shredded. Chipotles, cilantro, onion and crumbled fried tortillas are pureed and added to the broth.
The broth takes on a greenish colour with the puree added in. The shredded chicken goes back into the soup and I added some corn as well.
Once the soup is warmed through, place the garnishes in the bowl - avocado, chopped cilantro and shredded cheese.
Ladle the hot soup over the garnishes and top with fried tortilla strips.
This soup is slightly spicy, hearty and warming. It makes a fantastic winter dinner.
Here's the recipe, adapted slightly from Mark Bittman's Tortilla Soup recipe in the New York Times.
4 large chicken legs
2 meaty beef bones (optional)
1 medium onion, skin on, quartered
1 whole head garlic, halved, skin on
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 corn tortillas
2 chipotles in adobo
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup frozen corn (optional)
Place chicken legs, beef bones, garlic and 3/4 of onion in a large pot. Cover with water, about 10 cups.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Cook for about an hour.
Strain the broth through a fine sieve lined with cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Set chicken aside to cool. At this point you can also chill the broth to let the fat rise to the surface.
Meanwhile, slice 4 tortillas into strips. Heat oil in a pan and cook 2 whole tortillas until light brown and crisp, about 1 minute per side. Remove tortillas and drain on paper towels. Add tortilla strips to oil in pan and toss until brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes. Drain strips on paper towels.
Add the chipotles, 1/4 cup cilantro, the remaining 1/4 onion and a teaspoon of salt to a blender. Crumble in the two whole, fried tortillas and add 2 cups of the broth. Puree until smooth.
Remove the chicken from the bones and shred the meat.
When ready to serve, skim the fat from the chicken broth and pour into a pot to reheat. Add the chipotle mixture and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the corn and chicken and bring back to a simmer to warm through. Season with salt to taste.
Add avocado, cheese and cilantro to serving bowls and pour soup over top. Sprinkle fried tortilla strips over the top and add more cheese if desired.