Tortilla Soup

1 5-6 lb. chicken
1 quart chicken broth (I use home canned broth, unsalted)
1 quart stewed tomatoes (also home canned, low sodium)
3 bay leaves
2 1/2 lbs. red potatoes, diced with skins on
1 yellow onion, diced
1 large jalapeno
2 1/2 lbs. yellow squash*, sliced into thick rounds
2 1/2 lbs. calabasitas* (could also use zucchini), sliced into thick rounds
3 tbsp. comino
1 tsp. pepper
3 tbsp. cajun seasoning (unconventional, I know)
1 1/2 tbsp. seasoned salt
1 tbsp. old bay
2 tbsp. tomato paste

to garnish:
corn tortillas
avocado
queso quesadilla (or other mild flavored melting cheese)
cilantro
lime wedges

*pick the smallest squash you can find, they will hold up better in the soup and be a bit easier to eat. Also slice them pretty thick about 3/4"

Put the chicken in a large stock pot breast side down and cover with water. Boil for about 30 minutes until cooked through. Allow the chicken to cool. Remove from the water and pick apart the meat from the bones. (save the carcass to make stock). Strain the water in the pot to remove any bits of skin and bone. Return the meat to the pot with the water. Bring to a boil and add the chicken stock, stewed tomatoes, bay leaves, potatoes, onion, and jalapeno (leave it whole). Cook for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are not quite fork tender. Add all the seasonings, tomato paste and the squash. Simmer until the squash is cooked through, adding seasoning to taste. Remove the jalapeno and bay leaves.

While you are waiting on the soup prep the garnishes. Slice the tortillas in long strips about 1/2" wide. Fry in hot oil until crisp and drain on paper towels. Dice the cheese into small cubes and scoop chunks of avocado.

To serve place a spoonful or so of cheese and avocado into each bowl. Ladle the hot soup over the top. Add a little chopped cilantro and a handful of tortilla strips. Serve with a wedge of lime and additional garnishes on the side.
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