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Tortilla Soup like Cracker Barrel's

Submitted By: Gayle Freel
Serves: 10 - 12
Prep. Time: 2:00

1 bunch cilantro stems trimmed, washed
4 cloves garlic - peeled
1 sm. onion - chopped
2 serrano peppers tops removed
10 oz. can Ro*Tel tomatoes and chilies
3 quarts (12 cups) chicken stock
8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 - 3 tsp. ground cumin
1 - 2 tsp. salt
2 Tbls. cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water
approx. 20 sm. corn tortillas - cut into thin strips
vegetable oil OR peanut oil for frying
2 cups shredded grilled OR poached chicken breast meat
1 - 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 avocados - peeled, pitted, sliced

-In a blender or food processor, puree cilantro, garlic, onion, and peppers, with Ro*Tel; pour into a large pot.
-Add chicken stock, tomato sauce, cumin, and salt to pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.
-Stir cornstarch/water mixture into pot and continue heating over low heat, stirring occasionally.
-Deep-fry tortilla strips in small batches in 350 degree oil until crisp. Remove to a cooling rack to drain. Place a handful of fried tortillas into each serving bowl.
-Divide chicken into serving bowls, placing on top of tortilla strips.
-Pour soup into bowls, then sprinkle tops with cheese.
-Garnish with 2 - 3 avocado slices.

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