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Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 yellow onions, chopped

2 large carrots, finely chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 roasted chicken, bones and skin removed, meat cut into bite-sized pieces

8 cups chicken broth

2 cups chunky tomato salsa

½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice, plus additional

¼ cup plus ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves

1 tablespoon chopped jalapeno, or to taste

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

Salt and black pepper to taste

1 tomato, chopped

2 avocados, chopped

½ cup grated cheddar or jack cheese

Saute the onion and carrot until they begin to caramelize, then add the garlic for a couple of quick stirs, just enough to release its flavor. Stir in the chunks of chicken, combining. Add the chicken broth, followed by the salsa and lime juice. Bring to a quick boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Add the chopped cilantro and season with jalapeno, garlic and onion powders, and salt and pepper. Simmer for about 30 minutes so flavors can meld. When ready to serve, ladle the soup into large bowls and garnish with remaining cilantro, tomato, avocado and cheese. Splash with additional lime juice, if desired. Serves 8-10.


Thai Basil Chicken

1 pound skinless boneless chicken breast

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced

¼ cup matchstick-cut carrots

3 garlic cloves, minced

Vietnamese chile-garlic paste to taste

1/4 cup chicken broth

2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce (naam pla)

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cups sliced fresh basil leaves

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice or to taste

Freeze chicken wrapped in plastic wrap for 30 minutes to make slicing easier. Cut chicken into thin slices. Heat a wok or heavy skillet over high heat until hot. Add oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Add onion and stir for 2 minutes, then add garlic and stir-fry 1 minute more. Add chicken and cook, stirring constantly to prevent sticking, 3 to 4 minutes. Add chile-garlic paste, broth, fish sauce, sugar, soy sauce, and black pepper and stir-fry until combined. Add basil and stir-fry 30 seconds. Stir in lime juice. Serve chicken with steamed jasmine rice. Serves 6.