For the poached chicken:
- 1 chicken (2-3 pounds)
- 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 1 leek, halved and quartered across
- 2 celery ribs with leafy tops, quartered across
- 2 large cloves crushed garlic
- 1 large fresh bay leaf
- 6-8 peppercorns
For the posole:
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons thyme, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chili powder, such as Gebhardt’s brand
- 1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin (a scant palmful)
- 1 tablespoon coriander (a scant palmful)
- 1 can diced or crushed fire-roasted tomatoes (28 ounces)
- 1 can hominy (15 ounces)
- 2 cups frozen fire-roasted corn kernels or 2-3 ears charred fresh corn on the cob, scraped
- 6-8 cups chicken poaching liquid or store-bought chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon acacia honey or other mild honey or agave
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or juice of 1 lime
- 5-6 cups poached chicken meat, pulled or chopped, or 1 store-bought rotisserie chicken, meat pulled or chopped
- 6 6-inch corn tortillas, halved and cut into 1/4- to 3/4-inch matchsticks
- Natural cooking spray
- Garnishes: diced or sliced avocado dressed in lemon or lime juice, thinly sliced radishes, thinly sliced scallions (whites and greens) or thinly sliced red onions dressed with lime and seasoned with salt and pepper or seasoning blend, cilantro leaves
If poaching the chicken, place the chicken in a pot with the poaching ingredients. Add enough cold water to cover the chicken and bring to a low, rolling boil. Season the water with salt; reduce the heat and poach for 45-60 minutes, turning once. Let cool in the poaching liquid to room temperature. Remove the chicken from the skin and bones and dice or pull into bite-size pieces. Strain the stock.
Heat a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat with the canola oil, two turns of the pan. Add the onions, jalapeño peppers, garlic, thyme, spices, salt and pepper and stir for 7-8 minutes to soften and toast the spices. Add the tomatoes, hominy, corn, chicken, 6-8 cups stock (depending on how thick you like your soup) and honey and simmer for flavors to combine at a low rolling boil, 20 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Spray the tortilla strips and sprinkle with salt; bake to deep golden and crispy.
Finish the soup with sherry vinegar or lime juice. Serve in shallow bowls and top with toppings of choice and crispy tortillas for mixing in.