El Torito's Tortilla Soup

2 chicken breasts; boneless, skinless
3 qrt. chicken broth
1 red onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 boiling potato, diced
1/4 C. tomato paste
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. chipotle chile en adobo, pureed
1 tsp. pickled jalapeno chile seeded, chopped
1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
1/8 tsp. cumin
salt, to taste
white pepper, to taste
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
juice from 1 lime
2 Tbsp. sweet Sherry (preferably Harvey’s Bristol Cream)
1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
4 corn tortillas–cut into thin strips
1/2 lb. Jack cheese, shredded
12 slices avocado
cilantro sprigs

Poach chicken breast in simmering chicken broth until done through, about 10 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle and shred. Combine chicken
broth, chicken, red onion, carrots, potato, tomato paste, bay leaf, garlic, chipotle and jalapeno chiles, oregano, cumin and salt and pepper in large saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Correct seasoning, if necessary. Add zucchini, squash, pepper, lime juice and Sherry. Bring again to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Add cilantro and mint. Stir, then remove from heat. To assemble, fry tortilla strips in hot oil until crisp. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Ladle soup into each bowl. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and tortilla strips. Garnish each bowl with avocado slice and sprig cilantro. Serve at once.

Source: Recipe from El Torito Mexican restaurant, Los Angeles, CA. printed in the Los Angeles Times 12-26-1996.