Chicken tortilla soup a comfort food with Mexican flavor
I find it a source of great comfort that pretty much every culture, every cuisine has its own interpretation of chicken soup.
The Mexican version in particular speaks to me, scented with chilies and spices like cumin and coriander, riddled with slightly softened tortilla chips.
In Mexico, whole chilies may be used, often toasted and the crumbled into the soup. I rely on dried chili powder, pure ancho if you can find it, but in this recipe, regular blended chili powder also works just fine.
Cooking the chicken breasts in the broth enriches both broth and chicken, but if you are in a rush, go ahead and use about 3 cups of shredded cooked chicken, maybe from a rotisserie chicken. Need one more shortcut? Skip the frying of the tortillas; grab a bag of tortilla chips, lightly crush a few handfuls and use those instead.
The garnishes are what make this soup so special. Do not be timid with the offerings: An assortment of shredded cheese, diced avocado, fresh cilantro, salsa and lime wedges will turn a comforting soup into a feast.
You can make the soup ahead -- stopping after adding the chicken -- and keep it refrigerated for up to four days. Reheat, adding the lime juice when you are ready to serve (and, of course, don't fry the tortillas or prep the toppings until just before serving).