A Soup for all Seasons!

Fall is here and although it seems as if the San Francisco summer finally is too, there is a slight nip in the air at night which makes me crave a good hearty soup. This is a recipe I have toyed with over the years but in it’s latest form, seems the most delcious. It is also a great in the spring and summer when vegetables are at their freshest in the local farmers markets. I hope that you will give this a try!

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Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast (Or the meat off of one whole roasted chicken)
2-3 cloves of minced garlic
1 large diced yellow onion
2T cumin
1T Mexican Oregano
1T Guajillo Chile Powder
3 stalks of celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
1-2 minced jalapenos
1-2 large diced red (and/or) green bell peppers                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 yellow zucchini squash, diced
3 fresh diced tomatoes
1 box chicken stock
1/2-1 box vegetable stock (depending on whether or not you prefer a chunky soup or one with more broth)
1 15 oz. can (rinsed and drained) or 3 fresh ears of corn (steamed and cut off the cob)
1 28.2 oz.  can Hominy (rinsed and drained)
1 28.2 oz. can Muir Glen (or other brand) Fire Roasted diced tomatoes
The juice of 3-4 fresh limes
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped (reserve 1/8-1/4 cup to be used as garnish)
Add salt & pepper and or pepper flakes, to taste
4-6 small corn tortillas
1/2-1 C shredded pepper jack cheese (optional, for garnish)

Brown the chicken breast evenly until almost done, but still tender, on both sides.(Salt & pepper to taste and add 1/4 of the cumin while cooking.)Set aside to cool. Cut, or shred, into small strips and set aside.

Brush tortillas lightly with olive oil, cut into strips and scatter onto a baking sheet. Bake at 350 until just crisp, set aside.

In a large stock pot, on medium heat, add oil, salt and pepper and sauté garlic until aroma releases, then add yellow onion, remaining cumin, oregano, guajillo powder and continue sautéing until the onion is translucent. Then add the carrot and celery and continue to cook until just soft. Add peppers, zucchini, fresh tomatoes, stir and continue cooking for about ten minutes. Then add stock and cook until pot just comes to a boil, add more salt and pepper to taste, if you wish. Lower heat; add hominy, canned tomatoes, corn, and cover, to simmer, for about twenty minutes. Remove lid, add all but the reserved cilantro, then add fresh lime juice and stir. Cook for another five minutes.
To serve, place about 5 strips of baked tortillas in the bottom of individual serving bowls, sprinkle with cheese, pour in the soup and garnish with a fresh lime slice and cilantro. We also generally make a fresh bowl of guacamole which can also be used as garnish.

Hope you like it! Bon Appétit!

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