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Playing Chicken Pozole with Crispy Tortilla Strips

This super, supped-up version is like a chicken tortilla soup on vitamins.


For the Poached Chicken:
  • 1 2- to 3-pound chicken
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 leek, halved and quartered across
  • 2 celery ribs with leafy tops, quartered across
  • 2 large cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 large fresh bay leaf
  • 6 to 8 peppercorns
For the Pozole:
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder, preferred brand Gebhardt’s
  • 1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin, scant palmful
  • 1 tablespoon coriander, scant palmful
  • 1 28-ounce can diced or crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can hominy
  • 2 cups frozen fire-roasted corn kernels or 2-3 ears charred fresh corn on the cob, scraped
  • 6-8 cups poaching liquid or store-bought chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon acacia or other mild honey or agave
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or juice of 1 lime
  • 5 to 6 cups pulled or chopped poached chicken meat or 1 store-bought rotisserie chicken, meat pulled or chopped
  • 6 6-inch corn tortillas, halved and cut into 1/4- to 3/4-inch matchsticks
  • Natural cooking spray
For the Garnishes:
  • Diced or sliced avocado dressed in lemon or lime juice, thinly sliced radishes, thinly sliced scallions (whites and greens) or thinly sliced red onions dressed with lime and seasoned with salt and pepper or seasoning blend, cilantro leaves


Serves: 4-6 servings


If poaching chicken, place chicken in pot with poaching ingredients. Add enough cold water to cover chicken and bring to low rolling boil. Season water with salt; reduce heat and poach 45-60 minutes, turning once. Let cool in poaching liquid to room temp. Remove chicken from skin and bones and dice or pull into bite-sized pieces. Strain stock. 
Heat a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium high heat with canola oil, add onions, jalapeno peppers, garlic, thyme, spices, salt and pepper and stir 7-8 minutes to soften and toast spice.  Add tomatoes, hominy, corn, chicken, 6-8 cups stock (depending on how thick you like your soup)  and honey and simmer for flavors to combine at low rolling boil, 20 minutes. 
Preheat oven to 400°F.  Spray tortilla strips and sprinkle with salt, bake to deep golden and crispy.
Finish soup with sherry vinegar or lime juice.  Serve in shallow bowls and top with toppings of choice and crispy tortillas for mixing in.