This is not your ordinary tomato-based tortilla soup found at most Tex-Mex restaurants. Instead, it has a clear chicken broth base, an array of fresh vegetables, with a phenomenal onion-sage relish used for garnish. This recipe comes from my sister, and we had a wonderful time crafting this together yesterday. I parboiled the chicken for the meat and broth earlier in the day, so that when we were ready to cook this the time for the entire process was much shorter. It’s a delight that my sister enjoys cooking as much as I do, and we make a pretty darned good team in the kitchen. While we used squash and zucchini as the main vegetables, any fresh vegetable will work in this soup. Feel free to experiment!
Chicken Tortilla Soup
4-6 cups chicken broth, preferable homemade
3 small zucchinis
2 small yellow squash
1 large yellow onion
1/2 bell pepper
1/4 cabbage head
1-2 jalapeño peppers
2 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can hominy
6 fresh sage leaves
2-3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 or 2 limes
10 corn tortillas
Heat the chicken broth in a large soup pot or dutch oven. Slice the zucchini, squash and carrots and add to the broth. Slit the jalapeño down one side and add it whole to the pot. Take half the large onion and bell pepper, coarsely chop and add them too. Thinly slice the cabbage and toss that in too. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, finely dice the other half of the onion and put in a small bowl. Finely chop the sage leaves and mix it with the onion. Fresh sage is a must for this! Pour enough olive oil over the mixture to fully saturate it. Add the vinegar and squeeze a quarter of the lime into the relish, stir in a bunch of black pepper, a tad of salt, then cover and set aside.
While the soup is simmering, add a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil to a large skillet and preheat until oil is hot. Slice the tortillas into strips and carefully place one layer of them into the skillet and fry them both sides until crisp. Drain them on paper towels, and optionally shake some salt over them. Repeat until all the strips are fried.
About 5-10 minutes before ready to serve, add the cooked chicken and hominy to the soup pot. Peel and dice the avocado and place in a bowl. When the soup is done, set out the relish, tortilla strips, avocado, and lime wedges for garnish. Be sure to add generous amounts of the relish and tortilla strips, as these really finish out this wonderful and satisfying soup. Olé!