For the soup;
A slash of vegetable oil
8 or 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
1 ½ teaspoon of salt
4 cups of real chicken broth or water
A 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 onions, coarsely chopped
1 head of a garlic, cloves smashed
1 Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 tbsp of dried oregano
1 tbsp of chilli powder
1 tbsp of ground cumin
¼ cup of fine yellow cornmeal
a bag of corn tortilla chips
2 ripe avocados. peeled and diced
½ cup of sour cream
1 lime, cut into 8 wedges
a handful or two of fresh cilantro leaves
Begin the soup by browning the chicken. Heat a large pot over medium- high heat and splash in enough vegetable oil to thinly coat the bottom. Season the chicken with ½ teaspoon of the salt and place it in the hot oil. Cook the chicken until browned all over and thoroughly crispy, 5 minutes or so. Pour in the chicken broth to stop the browning and dissolve the pan's flavours.
Meanwhile, make the soup base. In a food processor or blender, purée the tomatoes, onions, garlic, chipotle, jalapeño, oregano, chilli powder, cumin and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Add to the soup pot and bring the works to a slow, steady simmer.
Stir continuously with a whisk while slowly poring the cornmeal into the simmering soup, make sure there are no limps. Simmer until the cornmeal softens and thickens the soup and the sunny southwestern flavours emerge, 15 minutes or so.
To finish, lightly crush a handful of tortilla chips into each serving bowl. Ladle in the soup and top with avocado, sour cream, a lime wedge and some cilantro. finish with some more of the chips for a crunchy topping.