Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Claire Spollen
Chilly evenings call for a comforting soup with a bit of restorative kick and plenty of vibrant toppings. Top with tortilla chips, or make your own crispy tortilla strips as shown: Cut 4 (6-inch) corn tortillas into 1/2-inch strips and bake at 375°F for 10 minutes. Crush half the strips for the soup and garnish with the rest. Make these ahead and store in a ziplock bag at room temperature for a day or two. Poblano peppers range in heat; add cooling avocado or crushed red pepper as needed.
Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, carrot, and poblano; sauté 8 minutes. Add stock, salt, black pepper, and tomatoes; bring to a boil over high heat. Finely crush half of tortilla chips; add to stock mixture. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until carrot is tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in cilantro and chicken. Ladle about 1 1/3 cups soup into each of 6 bowls. Divide avocado among bowls. Coarsely crush remaining tortilla chips and divide among bowls; serve with lime wedges and cilantro sprigs, if desired.