Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 large fresh pasilla chile
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (in juice)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2-3 corn tortillas, sliced into strips and halved
Salt to taste
1/2 cup frozen corn
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 avocado, diced
Handful of Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges

1. Quickly toast the chile by turning it an inch or two above an open flame for a few seconds until its aroma fill the kitchen. (Lacking an open flame, toast it in a dry pan over medium heat, pressing it flat for a few seconds, then flipping it over and pressing it again.)

2. Break the chile into pieces and put in a blender jar along with the tomatoes with their juice. (A food processor will work, though it won't completely puree the chile.)

3. Heat the oil in a medium (3- to 4-quart) saucepan over medium-high. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 7 minutes. Scoop up the onion and garlic with a slotted spoon, pressing them against the side of the pan to leave behind as much oil as possible, and transfer to the blender. Process until smooth.

4. Raise the heat under the pan to medium-high. When quite hot, add the puree and stir nearly constantly, until thickened to the consistency of tomato paste, about 6 minutes. Add the broth. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and season with about a teaspoon of salt (amount depends on the saltiness of the broth).

5. While soup is simmering, pour three tablespoons of vegetable oil in a skillet. When oil is hot, add tortilla strips and fry until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel to drain and set aside.

5. Just before serving, add the shredded chicken and corn to the simmering broth. Ladle the soup into the bowls and top with cubed avocado, shredded cheese and tortilla strips.

Adapted from Rick Bayless