Crispy-fried tortilla strips top a vibrantly seasoned chicken and vegetable soup with tomatoes, onion, carrot, chipotle chiles, chickpeas, green peas and spinach.
About 4 cups corn or peanut oil
9 (6-inch) yellow, blue or chile flavored corn tortillas, cut into strips
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (3 1/4-pound) chicken, cut into serving pieces, with giblets (but not the liver)
3 cups chopped yellow onions
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
8 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
3/4 teaspoon dried marjoram, crumbled
2 bay leaves
4 cups lightly salted chicken broth
4 cups water
1 (10-ounce) can chopped tomatoes with green chiles
3 chipotle en adobo, with clinging sauce, minced
2 cups cooked and drained chickpeas
1 1/3 cups frozen green peas, thawed and drained
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach leaves
- In an electric deep-fryer or in a medium heavy saucepan fitted with a frying thermometer and set over moderate heat, warm the corn oil to between 375°F to 400°F (190°C to 200°C). (The fryer or pan should be no more than half full.) Working in batches to avoid overcrowding the fryer, cook the tortilla strips, stirring them once or twice, until they are crisp but not browned, about 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer the strips to paper towels to drain. Season with kosher salt. (The tortilla strips can be fried up to 1 day ahead; cool completely, then wrap airtight and store at room temperature.)
- In a heavy 5-quart soup pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Pat the chicken pieces dry. Working in batches, cook the chicken pieces and giblets, turning them occasionally, until lightly browned about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the onions, carrots, garlic, oregano, marjoram, and bay leaves to the pan and cook, covered stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pan, for 10 minutes.
- Return the chicken pieces to the pan. Add the broth, water, tomatoes, and chipotles and bring to a simmer. Cook, partially, covered for 20 minutes. Remove the white meat pieces and reserve. Cook another 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the dark meat pieces. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin; remove the meat from the bones and shred it slightly. Return the chicken to the pot. (The soup can be prepared up to this point, 2 days in advance. Cool completely and refrigerate.)
- Set the soup over medium heat. Add the chickpeas and green peas and bring to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat and add salt to taste. Stir in the spinach. Ladle the soup into bowls. Top each bowl with tortilla strips, dividing them evenly and using them all. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings.