Southwestern Roasted Tomato and Poblano Chili Soup



2 1/2 pounds fresh Florida tomatoes
3 large fresh poblano chiles (12 ounces)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup fresh cilantro sprigs -- tied with kitchen string or twine
2 12-ounce cans ready-to-serve vegetable broth
OR
2 12-ounce cans ready-to-serve chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
Vegetable oil as needed
3 6-inch corn tortillas -- cut in halves then in 1/2-inch strips

Preheat broiler; oil 2 large shallow baking pans; set aside. Use tomatoes held at room temperature until fully ripe. Core tomatoes; cut in halves horizontally. Squeeze gently to release seeds. Place cut side down on one of the prepared baking pans. Broil about 6 inches from heat until skins are charred, 3 to 4 minutes.

In the container of an electric blender place charred tomatoes; blend until smooth, about I minute; set aside.

Quarter poblano chilies; core and seed. Place on remaining prepared baking pan. Broil about 6 inches from heat until skin is charred, turning once, about 3 minutes. Place in a plastic bag for 15 minutes to make peeling easier. Peel peppers; cut in strips; set aside.

In a large saucepan heat olive oil until hot. Add onion, garlic and cilantro bunch. Cook and stir over low heat until onion is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Cover and cook over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until very tender, about 15 minutes. Add broth, the reserved puréed tomatoes and poblano strips. Cover and simmer to blend flavors, about 15 minutes. Remove cilantro. Add lime juice, cumin and red pepper. Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat 1/4 inch vegetable oil until hot. Add tortilla strips, a few at a time; fry until crisp, about 45 seconds. Drain on paper towel. Serve soup garnished with tortilla strips and shredded Monterey Jack cheese, if desired.