The best "Gringo Tortilla Soup"
This is an old favorite that is a riff off El Fenix's "Chicken Avocado Tortilla Soup". This isn't a proper Mexican style tortilla soup but my White boy attempt at such. It's cheap, filling, easy, and can be done for a weeknight dinner. It's easy to scale up or down depending on how many you are feeding and easy to adapt for your personal taste.
Amounts vary depending on the number of servings. This will easily feed four hungry diners. Also, this recipe is extremely variable. Use as much or as little as you like. Everything I post is simply a guideline and highly recommend you change it to your tastes. You will need: 1/2 onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large tomato, diced and chopped fine
small handful of cilantro, minced. Save some chopped leaves for garnish.
1 T chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 chicken breast or 2 thighs, or both. Can also use cooked chicken as well.
2 cups chicken broth (I frequently used Better Than Bullion with hot water)
1 T oil (avocado oil is best, but use what you want)
1 avocado, diced or sliced into crescents
Tortilla chips, salsa, shredded cheese (I like a blend of cheddar and Jack)
If you are using raw chicken, put the chicken into a saucepan and cover with water. Add a good pinch of salt and put over high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Poach the chicken while making the rest of the soup. This will also create the broth to use in the soup later.
If not using raw chicken, then the first act will be to chop the onions, garlic, jalapeno, tomatoes, and cilantro.
Note the tomatoes are pretty well minced and hacked up. Also, finely chop the stems of the cilantro. They add a lot of flavor. (Something to note is that I'm one of those cilantro haters, but this dish needs that touch.)
Now, set a saucepan or small stockpot on the stove over medium heat. Add the oil and warm until it is shimmering. Then add the chili powder, cumin, and oregano.
Stir and cook until very fragrant and the spices start to turn brown. Then add the chopped onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Cook this until softened. Everything will start to get a bit sticky and a lot of fond will develop. Then add the tomato and cilantro. You may add a bit more tomato or a bit of water if everything is still a bit dry and sticky. Stir and scrape up the fond on the bottom of the pan and cook everything down until it is almost a goo. This is a type of sofrito and is really the base for all the flavor. I hate crunchy vegetables in my soup so I cook everything until it is almost dissolved. If you like a bit of crunch, cook less. Hey, this is your soup, do your own thing.
Once the vegetables have cooked, either strain any foam off the chicken stock and add that, adding more water and a spoon of bullion if you feel there isn't enough liquid or flavor. OR heat some water and pour over the sofrito and add bullion to your taste OR heat up some prepared chicken stock and use that. Honestly I usually just boil some water and add the Better Than Bullion and use a supermarket roast chicken. I like using the bullion paste because I can make the soup and rich or light as I like. You can also use prepared chicken stock if you wish. Stir everything together, making sure anything stuck is scooped off. Bring to a boil for a minute or so and then reduce to warming. Now prepare the bowls.
While the broth is heating I will then prep the toppings. Shred however much chicken you want to use, slice the avocado, open or shred your cheese, dice up some cilantro leaves. Set out some deep bowls.
I usually grab a handful of tortilla chips and crumble them loosely in my hands. You don't want them to be too fine, just broken up a bit. Then layer on the diced or shredded chicken, avocado, and cheese.
Carefully ladle the hot stock over the filling.
Add salsa and cilantro.
Top with more crumbled tortilla chips so they stay a bit crunchy. Serve immediately.
(Important note: This makes a hell of a mess in your bowls. That cheese is crazy to get out. I suggest either disposable bowls or soak the used bowls in hot soapy water.)