Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup

1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for frying
2 large onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon plus 1-1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
12 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 can (28 ounce.) diced tomatoes
Juice of 2 limes
1 package (8 ounce) small corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-in.-thick strips (see Notes)
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/4-in.-thick strips
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Sliced avocado, sour cream, grated Monterey jack cheese, additional chopped cilantro, and/or sliced green onions for topping

  1. Heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil in a large pot (at least 5 qts.) over medium
    heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in
    two-thirds of the garlic, 1 tbsp. salt, cumin, and chile flakes and cook 2

  2. Add broth, tomatoes, and half the lime juice and increase heat to a
    gentle simmer; cook 20 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, pour about 1 in. of vegetable oil into a small frying pan set
    over medium-high heat. When oil is hot but not smoking, add one-third of the
    tortilla strips and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. With
    a slotted spoon, transfer strips to a paper towel-lined baking pan. Repeat
    with remaining tortilla strips in two batches. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt.
    Set aside.

  4. Purée soup in batches in a blender. Return soup to pot and resume
    simmering. In a small bowl, toss chicken with remaining lime juice, garlic,
    and 1/2 tsp. salt. Marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes, then add to
    soup and simmer 5 minutes, until chicken is just cooked through. Stir in
    cilantro. Serve hot with tortilla strips and your choice of toppings.

Yields about 4 1/2 quart, 1 cup serving