El Pollo Loco Chicken Tortilla Soup

Source: El Pollo Loco, Denver, Colorado

Serves 8

2 (1 1/2 pound) roasted chickens, meat shredded, skin and bones discarded
2 quarts chicken broth, no salt or low sodium
1 corn cob, kernels cut from cob, or 1/3 cup frozen corn kernels
1 fresh poblano pepper, roasted and diced
1 cup fresh pico de gallo from El Pollo Loco or grocery store
1 cup carrots, small dice
1 cup celery, small dice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed, to taste
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 bag corn tortilla strips, or make your own

Homemade Chips:
8 corn tortillas cut into 1/4-inch strips and fried in 2 cups corn oil
    for about 1 minute or until crispy and lightly browned.

Garnish:
1/2 cup queso cotija (Mexican cheese), grated
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped and thickest stems removed
2 avocados, sliced into sixths and added to finished soup, optional

Prepare chicken by skinning and slicing off the meat, then shredding. Place meat in a 5-quart soup pot.

Wash and dry the poblano pepper. Lightly cover with oil and roast under broiler, turning so that all sides are charred. Right from oven, place poblano in a paper bag, close the bag and allow the pepper to steam for a few minutes. Remove skin, slice flesh and remove seeds. Dice into small pieces and place in soup pot. Add the chicken broth to the pot and turn on heat to medium. Chop the carrots and celery and add to the pot. Add the corn, pico de gallo and dried spices. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Stir in the lime juice and cilantro.

Ladle hot soup into bowls and top with generous portion of tortilla strips. Sprinkle with the grated cotija. Add avocado slices, if desired.

Nutritional information per serving: 522 cal., 31 g fat (6 g sat), 149 mg chol., 10 g carb., 52 g pro., 1 g fiber, 939 mg sodium