As both noodles and a garnish, corn-tortilla strips do double duty in this flavorful chicken, ham, and vegetable soup.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 corn tortillas, (6 inches in diameter) cut into 1/3-inch-wide strips
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced into thin half-moons
- 2 stalks celery, sliced into thin half-moons
- 1 chicken breast half, (5 to 6 ounces) cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 slices (about 2 ounces) baked ham, cut into 1/4-inch dice, or 2 ounces ham steak, thinly sliced and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) low-sodium chicken broth
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add half the tortilla strips; cook, stirring, until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer strips with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain; season with salt. Set aside.
Add vegetables to pot; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes (do not brown).
Stir in chicken; cook until opaque, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add ham, bay leaf, broth, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf; season with salt and pepper. Divide remaining tortilla strips among bowls, and ladle soup on top. Garnish with fried tortilla strips, and serve immediately.