Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Wash and towel try the cilantro, remove stems and chop. Open your cans of tomatoes and have them at the ready. You don't have to measure out all the spices unless you like the way they have it all ready on the cooking shows. Rince the chicken under cold water and dry.
HOW TO MAKE AT HOME
You can make this all in one large soup pot or fry the tortilla strips in one and make the soup in another. I like to clean as few pots as possible especially when I'm working one handed. Cut up 2 of the tortillas into 1/4 inch strips and fry them in 3 tablespoons of Canola oil. You want them to be a golden brown but be careful not to burn them, they cook quickly. Depending on the size of your pot, you may have to cook several at at a t time. Remove the strips from pot and transfer to some paper towels to drain. Season with a little salt.
Heat the remaining oil over medium high heat and sauté the onions for a couple of minutes. Then add garlic and sauté for another minute or two. Tear the remaining 3 corn tortillas into bite size pieces and add to the pot.
Now add the cilantro, stir, and cook for a minute more. Add the canned tomatoes with their juice and the chicken stock, cumin, chili powder, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, add the corn, whole chicken breasts, and cayenne. Simmer the chicken breasts for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked throughout. Remove the chicken breasts and put aside to cool. Turn off the soup at this point.
Once the chicken breasts are cool, shred them with your hands and return to the pot. Add your lime juice and taste for spiciness. If you like it hotter, add more of the spices. Reheat, and serve with the fried tortilla strips..
My neighbor served this soup with the fried tortillas, freshly diced avocado, grated cheddar cheese, and sour cream. The sour cream really helped mellow out some of the spices and gave the soup a wonderful creamy appearance. This soup is a meal. It's great for a party or a dinner, and the leftovers are perfect for the baby-sitter if you decide to go out later in the week.
5/3/05 - I made this soup for a party and by mistake defrosted chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts and it made no difference. I take that back, I think it was better. Not only did it make the recipe more economical, I think the thighs gave it more flavor.
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