Monday

Chicken and Avocado Soup with Fried Tortillas

Chicken-and-Avocado Soup with Fried Tortillas

We got our first real snow of the season last night; yes, in March! I don't think it was quite the walloping that the forecasters first tried to scare us with - we Southerners scare easily when it comes to the white stuff. It paralyzes us. We aren't used to it. And unless you're 17 and younger, also known as school age, you'd just rather it pass us by. Well, let's just say that the 17 and younger crowd was very happy today.

We've had a strange winter - it's really been quite mild - and I don't know about you, but I only crave soup when it's coooold outside. Like today. A high of 38 might not seem cold to you, but to us it's downright bone-chilling. Brrrr. I'm staying inside as long as I can and cuddling up with the remote, maybe a book, and a nice big bowl of this chicken-and-avocado soup.

Chicken and Avocado Soup with Fried Tortillas
Food and Wine
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3 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
4 6-inch corn tortillas, halved and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
1 clove garlic
1 jalapeño chile, seeds and ribs removed
2 ripe avocados, preferably Haas, skin and pit removed
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, plus more to taste
3 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 onion, chopped
3 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3), cut into approximately 1 1/2-by-1/4-by-1/4-inch strips

Directions
  1. In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately high heat. Add the tortillas and cook, stirring frequently, until brown and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the tortillas from the pot and drain on paper towels.
  2. In a blender, combine the garlic, jalapeño, avocados, lime juice, Tabasco, 1 1/2 cups of the water, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper. Puree until smooth.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in the pot over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and the remaining 2 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer. Stir the chicken into the pot; cook until just done, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the avocado puree. Heat through, about 2 minutes. Serve the soup topped with the crisp tortilla strips. (Note: Even easier - Use broken-up tortilla chips in place of the fried tortilla strips.)