I have tried many versions and this one has become a family favorite. It's easy to make, filled with flavor and perfect to warm you up on a cold, rainy night.
- 2 ears fresh corn, husks removed
- 4 or 5 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 small onion (about 3 ounces), peeled, trimmed, and quartered
- 1 small jalapeno pepper, trimmed and seeded
- 2 tablespoons corn oil
- 2 corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch squares
- 2 large ripe tomatoes (1 pound), peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 to 3 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 corn tortillas
- 1 ripe avocado
- 2 ooked chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup grated Cheddar
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Using a large knife, carefully scrape the kernels off the corncobs and set aside, reserving the cobs.
Using a food processor fitted with the steel blade, or a large knife, coarsely chop the garlic, onion, jalapeno pepper, and corn kernels. Reserve.
In a large soup pot, heat the oil. Add the squares of tortillas and cook over low heat until they are slightly crisp. In the same pot, stir in the chopped vegetables and simmer just until the vegetables are coated with the oil. Do not brown.
Add the tomatoes, the tomato paste, and 2 teaspoons of the cumin and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes to maximize the flavor. Slowly pour in the stock, add the corncobs, and cook over low heat until the soup is reduced by one third.
Discard the corn cobs and puree the soup, in batches, in a blender, food processor or with an immersion blender until smooth. At this point, the soup can be passed through the fine strainer, if desired. Wipe out the pot with a paper towel, and return the mixture to the clean pot. Season with salt, pepper, and additional cumin to taste.
Prepare the garnish: Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the remaining 2 corn tortillas into thin strips and arrange on a small baking tray. Bake until the strips are crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Peel and dice the avocado. Cut the chicken into thin strips. You can use precooked rotisserie chicken or cook raw chicken in a 350 degree oven until fully cooked. Either way, cut the cooked chicken into strips, or shred it using a couple of forks.
To serve, add the chicken and avocado to the soup and reheat over low heat. Ladle the soup into 6 to 8 warm soup bowls and garnish with the baked tortilla strips, Cheddar cheese, and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.
Recipe from Wolfgang Puck