Chicken Tortilla Soup with All the Trimmings
From "Mexican Everyday" by Rick Bayless with Deann Groen Bayless

4 cups Basic Chicken Stock (the Bayless. recipe, your own, or good store-bought)
3 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken
1 large dried pasilla chili, stemmed and seeded
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, sliced ¼-inch thick
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 large sprig fresh epazote, if available (see Note*)
About 1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
Optional: 1 large ripe avocado, peeled and cubed
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican melting cheese (see Note**)
About 4 cups roughly broken tortilla chips
1 large lime, cut into 6 wedges, for serving

Prepare Basic Chicken Stock. Reserve 4 cups stock and 3 cups cubed or shredded chicken. (note . can use any well-prepared chicken broth or stock)

Toast the chili by turning it an inch or two above an open flame on a gas stove for a few seconds, or until its aroma fills the kitchen. Or toast in a
dry pan over medium heat, pressing it flat for a minute, then flipping it over and pressing again. Break chili into pieces and put into a blender jar
along with the tomatoes with their juice. (A food processor will work, but won't completely purée the chili.) Purée until almost smooth.

Heat oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 7 minutes. Scoop the onion and
garlic into the blender or processor; process until purée is as smooth as possible.

Return saucepan to heat. When hot, add purée and stir nearly constantly until thickened to the consistency of a loose tomato paste, about 6 minutes.
Add broth and epazote if using. Bring just to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes. Taste and add salt and cilantro.
5. Just before serving, add chicken to broth. If using avocado, toss with lime juice. Put avocado, cheese and tortilla chips in separate bowls and
serve on the side of the soup.

* Epazote is also known as the bean herb, as it's most often added to pots of beans as they are cooking, especially black beans. It has a strong,
pungent flavor and can sometimes be found in Mexican and Central American markets.
** Mexican melting cheeses include Chihuahua, quesadilla and asadero. Jack, brick or mild cheddar can also be used.

Serves 6

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