Braised Chicken Tortilla Soup

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When paired with Mexican spices, smoked paprika and lime, this soup stands out as one of my favorites!

The intense flavor of this dish comes from braising chicken breasts (not boneless) rubbed with chipotle oil combined with the right mixture of spices and a splash of citrusy lime. Use sprouted grain tortillas for texture and crunch!

2 chicken breasts with bones
1/4 cup chipotle oil
-or 1/4 cup olive oil mixed with 1 teaspoon chipotle spice (or 1/2 teaspoon chili powder plus 1/2 teaspoon cumin)
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup onions, chopped
1 cup orange, red and yellow peppers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 jalepeno pepper, minced
28 oz can peeled tomatoes
4 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup water
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste
Corn or sprouted-grain tortillas
Extra virgin olive oil

Rub chicken breasts with chipotle oil. Set aside for 1 hour. Meanwhile preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat bottom of heavy skillet with EVOO and heat to medium high. Brown chicken breasts on each side. Place chicken in a glass oven proof dish and fill with chicken broth. Cover with aluminum foil and braise in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes or until just cooked throughout. Remove from oven and cool enough to shred chicken with a fork, reserving the chicken broth.

In a large stock pot, place onion, peppers and garlic in 1/4 cup EVOO and saute until onions are translucent. Add jalepeno pepper and saute 1 – 2 minutes more. Pulse tomatoes in a food processor until chunky and add to stock pot. Add chicken broth (approximately 2 cups), cilantro, remaining spices and chicken plus 1 cup of water or more for desired consistency. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Coat bottom of a heavy skillet with olive oil and heat to medium high. Place tortilla and lightly brown. Flip and lightly brown other side. Remove to a cutting board and let cool. Cut into strips. Ladle soup in bowls and top with tortilla strips and chopped cilantro if desired.

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