Nothing warms better than chicken soup... except maybe some chicken soup enhanced with pureed chiles. This Mexican take on the down home favorite is like a cross between tortilla soup and chicken enchiladas. Perfect food for when you're feeling a little bit spicy.
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Mexican Style Chicken Soup with Chiles
2 dried ancho chiles, stems removed & chiles broken into pieces
2 dried mulatto chiles, stems removed & chiles broken into pieces
4 dried chipotle moritas, stems removed & chiles broken into pieces
2 cups chicken broth, warmed
1 T olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T cumin
1 T Mexican oregano
1 bay leaf
15 oz. can tomato sauce
3 cups chicken broth
1 large red pepper, finely diced
10-12 oz collard (or other) greens, shredded
2 cups cooked chicken
1 cup frozen (or canned) corn
Rehydrate the dried chile peppers in the 2 cups warmed chicken broth for 25-30 minutes, or until quite soft.
When the chiles are softened, pour broth & chile mixture into blender and puree until quite smooth. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove stray seeds and any larger pulpy pieces of chile. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the strainer well to get all the delicious pulpy-chile goodness. Set chile puree aside.
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Saute onions until tender and just beginning to brown. Add garlic and saute briefly, being careful not to let the garlic get brown. Add cumin and Mexican oregano and stir well. Then, keeping the pan very hot, add chile puree to the hot pan and allow to sear until the mixture is slightly darkened. Turn heat down to medium, add the tomato sauce, and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes until mixture has reduced slightly.
Add the remaining 3 cups of chicken broth along with minced red peppers. Bring to a boil, add the bay leaf, and allow the soup to simmer for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. At this point, add the shredded greens and continue to cook for about 10 minutes or until they are cooked through. Add chicken and corn and simmer just until heated through.
Serve soup garnished with cilantro, avocado, tortilla strips, fresh lime juice and/or sour cream.