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Smoky Chicken Tortilla Soup


  • 3 cups chicken stock

  • 1 pound chicken tenders

  • 1 bay leaf, fresh if available

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 4 slices thick, smoky bacon, chopped

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 2 chipotles in adobo, chopped, plus 2 tablespoons sauce

  • 1 28-ounce can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes

  • Salt to taste

  • 4 cups corn tortilla chips, lightly crushed

  • 3/4 pound (2 cups) shredded fresh smoked mozzarella or smoked sharp white cheddar cheese

  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

  • 1/2 red onion, chopped

  • Fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish


Bring broth to a simmer and add the chicken tenders. Poach them for 6-7 minutes with a bay leaf. While the chicken poaches, heat EVOO in a medium soup pot or deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook it until crisp then remove it with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain off the excess fat, leaving 2-3 tablespoons in the pan. Add the onions and garlic to the skillet and cook them for 5 minutes. Stir in chipotles and tomatoes.

Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid, dice it then add it to the tomatoes and chipotles.

Pass the poaching liquid through a strainer then add it to the soup pot as well. Place a pile of crushed tortilla chips in the bottom of each soup bowl. Cover it liberally with cheese then ladle the hot soup down over the top. Serve it with lime, raw onions and cilantro at the table.