Tortilla Soup

Nothing, *nothing* gives you perspective like getting extremely ill.  I have been away.  I am now returned.  In the interstice, a blight.

Imagine you are in bed, and you cannot will yourself out.  The puppies are mewling.  You are sweating.  You thrash weakly.  Your fever has reached a dangerous pitch. There are mild hallucinations involved.  Sodden and will-less, you don’t even care if the puppies urinate on the floor.  You whimper at them.  They whimper back.  Every movement is a careening wash of pin prickles on your skin. You cannot see or remember a time that was not this.

Now picture your normal life.  Leagues better, yes?  Yes!  So, on the heels of a debilitating illness, I am the happiest I have been in months, because I am so glad to be back in the saddle and glad also to have brought back from the depths of malaise a recipe that is “good for what ails ya”, whatever that may be.  I was not well enough to make it for myself until the final days (I was in bed for 4-5), but it got me braced for resuming life as we know it, more grateful than when I had unexpectedly departed.

Tortilla Soup

yield – 3-4 bowls of soup

4 corn tortillas, cut into 1″ strips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 large onion, sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
1 jalapeno, rough chopped, seeds included if desired
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 large can of whole stewed tomatoes
4 cups of chicken stock or vegetable stock
1-2 avocado leaves or 1 bay leaf
2-3 tablespoons lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

avocado cubes, chicken breast strips, crema, cilantro (optional)

Preheat large soup pan to medium.  Add oil.  Add strips and fry until crispy.

Add onions, garlic, jalepeno, chili powder, and cumin and saute for 1 minute until fragrant.

Add chicken stock, tomatoes, and avocado or bay leaves.  Bring to boil reduce to simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove avocado or bay leaves.  Add lime juice.  Blend in batches or with an immersion blender.

If adding chicken, cut into very thin strips and add. Cook for two minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  Serve and garnish with avocado, crema, and/or cilantro.

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