Servings: Serves 4 to 6
Place chili in a small, heatproof bowl; pour boiling water over and let soak 30 minutes. Drain; remove stem and seeds. Slice into 1/2-inch strips and set aside.
In a heavy Dutch oven or soup pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add chicken; season with salt and pepper. Brown on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Add onion, carrots and celery. Continue to cook about 8 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and cumin and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add broth, reserved chili, tomatoes and cilantro and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes. With your hands, tear 3 tortillas into 2-inch strips and add to the soup. Continue to simmer about 15 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, remove chicken to a cutting board; take soup off heat. With an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth (or puree in small batches in a food processor fitted with knife blade). With two forks, shred chicken; return to soup. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.
Slice remaining tortillas into 1/4-inch strips. In a small saucepan, heat 1 inch vegetable oil until very hot. Fry tortilla strips until crisp, about 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, remove strips to a paper-towel-lined plate and season with salt. Serve soup in bowls topped with tortilla strips and any or all of the optional garnishes.
From the October 2007 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
We Hear You!