Chipotle Chicken Vegetable Tortilla Soup

Serves 6 in 90 minutes

This “South of the Border” twist on the classic chicken soup delivers fragrant bursts of spices, smoky chipotle chiles and a zesty lime finish! Cooking chicken thighs on the bones adds collagen and the veggies provide a spectrum of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to support immunity and help fight off winter colds and flus. Even if you’re cooking for one, always make extra to freeze for another night!

¼ cup olive oil
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes/seeds
½ teaspoon each of cumin, coriander and fennel seeds
1 ½ cups yellow onion, diced
½ cup red pepper, diced
1 teaspoon jalapeno pepper, minced
1 T. garlic, minced
½ teaspoon oregano (fresh) or 1 teaspoon if dried
4 cups water
4 cups chicken broth (“Imagine” Organic Free-Range Chicken Broth is my fave)
1 bay leaf
2-3 t. sea salt
4-6 chicken thighs, organic, skin removed
1 c. carrots, sliced
1 c. green beans, trimmed and sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 28 oz. can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1 16 oz. can hominy or organic corn (optional)
1-2 T. canned chipotle chilies, diced (the more the hotter)
1 lime, halved
Queso fresco or shredded Monterey Jack cheese, if desired
Organic corn tortilla chips
¼ cup cilantro leaves, rough chopped
1 avocado, thinly sliced

Gather and prep ingredients. Heat a large (8 qt.) stockpot over medium heat for one minute. Add the olive oil and when it begins to shimmer (around 30 seconds), add the chili flakes, cumin, coriander and fennel seeds and sauté for 30 seconds.
Stir in the onion, red and jalapeno peppers and sauté for 5-10 minutes or until starting to brown. Stir in the garlic and oregano to toast another minute.

Add the water, broth, bay leaf, salt, chicken, carrots and green beans and bring to a boil. Allow it to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the chicken to a bowl, pulling it apart to allow it cool. Stir in the canned tomatoes, hominy and chipotle chiles. While it comes to a boil, debone the cooled chicken. Slice into bite size pieces. Return the chicken to the pot and stir to warm. Squeeze the juice of a half of a lime into the pot and adjust the seasonings. Ladle into flat soup bowls and garnish with cheese, tortilla chips, cilantro, avocado and a wedge of lime.

Sally LaMont, ND, LAc