With a fresh and spicy homemade broth and an array of colorful and crunchy toppings, here's a soup to warm up even the chilliest of evenings. This recipe uses a whole bird, making it not only a satisfying meal, but an economical one too. Starting with a cut up whole chicken helps prevent meat from overcooking. Ask your butcher to cut it into parts or follow our guide.

Martha Stewart Living, September 2019


Credit: Marcus Nilsson

Recipe Summary

2 hrs 10 mins
35 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Fill a large pot with 14 cups water; add chicken, onion, carrots, garlic, halved jalapeño, cilantro sprigs, and 1 tablespoon kosher salt and bring to a boil. Skim foam, reduce heat, and gently simmer until chicken is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer all chicken pieces except backbone to a cutting board; continue simmering broth while you remove and discard skin and remove meat from bones. Cover meat and refrigerate; return bones to pot and simmer until broth is reduced by half, about 1 hour.

  • Strain broth through a fine‐mesh sieve; discard solids (including bones). Skim fat; transfer broth to a clean pot. (You should have 8 cups; if you don't have enough, add water.)

  • Heat 1 inch oil in a pot over medium‐high until it reaches 375 degrees on a thermometer. Add one‐third of tortilla strips and cook until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper‐towel‐lined plate; season with salt. Repeat with remaining tortilla strips.

  • Shred cooled chicken into 3 cups of bite‐size pieces (reserve remainder for another use). Add to broth along with sliced jalapeño, chopped cilantro, tomatoes, and lime juice. Heat through, about 2 minutes; season with salt. Serve topped with avocados, radishes, cotija, and fried tortilla strips.

Cook's Notes

For a less spicy soup, remove the jalapeno seeds before using and add a few seeds back in at a time to taste. This recipe will make a little extra chicken than you need; use it up in a stir-fry or this quick quesadilla.