Leftover roasted chicken shredded into small to medium-size pieces
2 tablespoons organic olive oil
6 organic tomatoes diced
1 medium organic red onion, diced
1 organic jalapeño chile, seeded and minced (optional)
1 organic red bell pepper
8 cups organic chicken broth
2 organic limes
½ bunch organic fresh cilantro, stemmed and chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper
½ cup organic tomatillo salsa* (fresh when tomatillos are in season)
Shredded jack or cheddar cheese (preferably from grazing cows like the cheese sold at farmers’ markets)
Chopped fresh organic cilantro
Shred the chicken and set aside. In a large pot heat the oil, then add tomatoes, onion, bell pepper and chile and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the broth, lime juice, cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat. Add the chicken and tomatillo salsa and cook for 20 minutes, or until all the flavors marry.
Add additional salt, lime juice and tomatillo salsa to suit your palate.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with tortilla chips, shredded cheese and cilantro.
*To make your own tomatillo salsa, place 1 pound husked and rinsed tomatillos in a pot, cover with water and boil until soft. Roast 2 chiles de arbol on an iron skillet or comal, turn a few times until charred on all sides.
Discard the stems and some seeds. The more seeds you keep the hotter the salsa. In a blender combine tomatillos, 1 chopped onion, 2 cloves garlic, ½ bunch stemmed cilantro and 1/3 cup water.
Blend until smooth. Add more water for a thinner consistency. Season with salt. and pepper to taste.
Here’s an easy way to make your own chicken broth for this Tortilla Soup recipe or any other purpose AND to alleviate waste by using all parts of the chicken:
Put the leftover chicken carcass and any leftover chicken bones into a stockpot. Cover with water, add a ½ teaspoon of salt and simmer for a couple of hours.
Remove the bones and any bits of skin that are floating around, and voila! You have a very simple and tasty broth.
Whatever flavoring spices were used to roast the chicken flavor the broth. Some people add an onion or carrot for added flavor and richness, but if the chicken was roasted with other vegetables, I find that the broth is plenty flavorful without any additions.
If a clear broth is desired without any residual bits of chicken or vegetables in the mix, simply strain the liquid through a sieve.—JH