Here's a silky soup that doesn't rely on cream for its creamy texture; pureed avocados do the job nicely. It doesn't rely on long cooking for its full flavor, either--the soup's in the pot for less than ten minutes.
3 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
4 6- inch corn tortillas, halved and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
1 clove garlic
1 jalapeño chile, seeds and ribs removed
2 ripe avocados, preferably Haas, skin and pit removed
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, plus more to taste
3 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 onion, chopped
3 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3), cut into approximately 1 1/2-by-1/4-by-1/4-inch strips
How to Make It
In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately high heat. Add the tortillas and cook, stirring frequently, until brown and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the tortillas from the pot and drain on paper towels.
In a blender, combine the garlic, jalapeño, avocados, lime juice, Tabasco, 1 1/2 cups of the water, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper. Puree until smooth.
Heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in the pot over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and the remaining 2 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer. Stir the chicken into the pot; cook until just done, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the avocado puree. Heat through, about 2 minutes. Serve the soup topped with the crisp tortilla strips.
Wine Recommendation: Rich avocados demand a full-bodied white wine. This is a great opportunity to drink one of those big, oaky California chardonnays that can overpower less flavorful foods.
Notes: Even easier: Use broken-up tortilla chips in place of the fried tortilla strips.