This chunky chicken soup flavored with cumin, chili, and lime is served with a variety of toppings that include avocado, fresh cilantro, and crisp tortilla strips. Served with a green or grain salad, it makes a nice combination for a casual dinner party.

Serves 6

  • 3 split bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 leek, trimmed (toughest green tops removed, leaving white and light green parts), cut lengthwise, washed and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • kernels from 2 ears fresh corn (approximately 1 cup)


  • 1 package of small corn tortillas
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 ripe but firm avocadoes, diced
  • shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rub split chicken breasts with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place on a baking sheet and roast for about 40 to 45 minutes, until just cooked. Ideally, chicken will be slightly undercooked, and finish cooking in the soup. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred by hand into strips. Leave oven on to crisp tortillas.

2. Cut tortillas in half, and then cut each half into 1/4-inch strips. Place on a baking sheet, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Mix with tongs. Bake until lightly crisp, turning occasionally with tongs, about 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside until ready to serve.

3. In a soup pot over medium-low heat, sauté the leek, garlic, and jalapeño in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the chili powder and cumin, and continue mixing for 30 seconds until fragrant.

4. Add stock, tomatoes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer soup for 10 minutes, covered. Add the corn and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Just before serving, add the chicken and heat gently. Taste and add additional salt, if needed.

5. Arrange the toppings on a platter. Ladle the soup into bowls and pass the toppings; squeeze lime wedges over soup.

This recipe was originally published with the article, Soup: The Ultimate Comfort Food.