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Your lifestyle, your quirk
There are times in all our lives when we need comfort. It can come in many different forms. Some people need a helping hand, some people need to be held, and some people need food. Well, I deal with the food side. But please remember, food is for sustenance and should never be a substitute for a warm body just giving you a hug and encouragement, letting you know that tomorrow will be a better day.
When I lived in Mexico, I met an amazing man who gave me my first bowl of tortilla soup, and let me tell you, it was heavenly. I remember how warm and comforting it was, how the cheese would melt in my mouth…I remember the creaminess of the fresh, cold avocados, and the crispiness of the fried tortilla strips. All of these different sensations combined made for one of the most amazing meals I have had. I actually went back day after day, I couldn’t get enough.
This is my favorite soup when I feel down or sick, so I am sharing the recipe with you. It will fill your heart and your belly at the same time.
1. If you are starting with somewhat old, dried out tortillas, great. If you are starting with relatively fresh tortillas, put them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven at 200°F for 10-15 minutes to dry them out a bit. It is best to start with tortillas that don't have a lot of moisture in them. Cut tortillas in half, and then cut the halves into 1/4-inch wide strips. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a 3-quart pot. Working in three batches, fry the tortilla strips in the oil until lightly browned and crisp. Remove the tortilla strips from the pan and let drain on a paper-towel-lined plate.
2 Add the chopped onions to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chopped chili peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes more, until the onions and chilies have softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the broth, tomatoes, and salt. Increase the heat to high, heat until the soup begins to boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and cook until heated through.
3 To serve, pit, peel, and cut the avocado into 1-inch pieces. Divide half of tortilla strips among 4 individual serving bowls; ladle in soup. Top with avocado and cheese; garnish with remaining tortilla strips and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.
Yield: Serves four.