chicken tortilla

Sometimes I buy those mutant rotisserie chickens at Costco and we end up only eating about half as actual roast chicken. Then we’re left with another half a chicken that nobody wants to eat and I am way too much my mother’s child to just ditch it, so I make one of two things with the meat I strip off the bone: enchiladas or chicken tortilla soup. You don’t need the enchiladas recipe, it’s the one from the bottle of Trader Joe’s enchilada sauce. But you do need the chicken tortilla recipe.

It’s super easy, it’s delicious, and it’s perfect for a light dinner. If you don’t want to be hungry an hour later, add some avocado to the soup and serve with crusty bread and a salad for a heartier meal. Buen Provecho!

Yucatán Chicken-Lime Soup (courtesy Steve Raichlen’s Healthy Latin Cooking)

4 corn tortillas (6″) cut into thin strips
1 large tomato, halved crosswise and seeded
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
8 garlic gloves, minced
2-8 serrano chiles, thinly sliced (wear gloves when handling, especially if you wear contact lenses, trust me on this)
4 cups chicken stock or broth
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 bay leaf
4-6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Arrange the tortilla strips on a cookie sheet and bake for 3-5 minutes, or until just starting to brown. Be careful, they can burn quickly. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Over a small bowl, grate each tomato half on the coarse side of a hand grater. Throw away the skin.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or a medium pot. Add the onions, garlic, and chile peppers (note: I do not add the chile peppers at this point because I have kids; I just add them at the table as a garnish). Cook until the onions are soft, but not brown (5-10 minutes, in my experience). Stir in the grated tomato, the stock or broth, the shredded chicken, and the bay leaf. Simmer for 5 minutes, or however long it takes you to put together the salad. Stir in 4 tablespoons of the lime juice and the cilantro (unless some of the people who will be eating this hate cilantro; in that case, garnish at table). Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove the bay leaf. Taste and adjust seasonings, including adding more lime juice if you like. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the tortilla strips (and the peppers and the cilantro and the avocado, if that’s the case at your house).

This supposedly makes 4 servings, but I need to double it to make enough for my husband and two kids. I don’t double the lime juice or peppers, just the broth and I throw in a little more chicken. It’s a very flexible recipe, you can use as much or as little as you like of the various ingredients. But don’t skimp on the garlic, okay?