Every Wednesday afternoon, Sharp Grossmont Hospital employees make a beeline to the cafe soup bar for its popular chicken tortilla soup. The comforting soup encourages second helpings, and would surely make any abuela proud.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Serve with warm cornbread or tortillas on the side.
Yields 4 (8-ounce) servings
4 (6-inch) yellow corn tortillas
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/3 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2/3 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/8 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
2/3 cup canned diced tomatoes
4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 pound cooked chicken breast, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, minced (reserving some for garnish)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional, to garnish)
1 ripe avocado, diced (optional, to garnish)
Heat oven to 400° F. Coat 2 sheet pans with vegetable oil spray. Cut 2 corn tortillas into short, thin strips. Place tortilla strips in a single layer on 1 sheet pan. Spray strips with vegetable oil and toss. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until crispy and golden. Remove and cool. Reserve for use later as garnish.
Place remaining tortillas on the second sheet pan. Bake for 8 minutes, also at 400° F. Rotate pan and continue baking for 7 minutes or until crisp and slightly brown. Remove and cool. Place in a food processor and grind until smooth.
In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and saute for 4 minutes or until slightly golden. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add cumin, ancho chili powder and chipotle powder. Saute for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add tomatoes with juice. Bring to a boil. Add stock, bay leaf and ground tortillas. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf.
Immediately prior to serving, stir in chicken, cilantro, salt and lime juice. Top with baked tortilla strips, cheddar cheese (optional), cilantro and fresh avocado (optional).