What you need...
~1 tbsp butter
~1 good size yellow or white onion (diced)
~4 stalks celery plus celery heart with leaves (sliced)
~4-5 good size carrots (sliced)
~Whole chicken cleaned
~small can mild green chilies
~3 zucchini ( cut in 1/2 inch slices)
~1 can chopped tomatoes
~1/2 red bell pepper (cut in strips)
~1 yellow bell pepper (cut in strips)
~frozen corn (fresh is good too if you have it)
~4-6 corn tortillas sliced into strips (a pizza cutter is great for this)
~veggie or peanut oil
~sharp Cheddar or jack cheese shredded
~cilantro lightly chopped
In a large heavy bottom stock pot over med high heat melt butter.
Add onion and cook until translucent, but don't brown them.
Add carrot and celery including the leaves.
Saute for another minute
add four cups cold water the whole can of tomatoes liquid an all and 1/2 to all of the green chilies depending on your preference (I use about 3/4 of a 6 oz can)
add whole chicken
add more cold water until the chicken is covered
add salt (be generous you are flavoring a large pot)
add bay leaf.
Bring the water to a boil then reduce the heat. Place a lid vented over the pot and let simmer until chicken is cooked and the meat pulls away easily
once the chicken is cooked remove it from the pot. Remove and discard the skin fat and bones.
Chop the chicken and add it back to the pot.
Increase the heat to a gentle boil and add the corn zucchini and bell peppers.
Cook until zucchini is fork tender then remove from heat.
In a frying pan heat enough oil to fry the tortilla strips.
on Med to med high heat fry the tortilla strips and drain them on a paper towel.
Serve the soup in bowls and top with garnishes.
(You can cut cooking time down by using ready made stock and cooked chicken, but you really can beat the flavor of homemade stock, and you control what goes in) Worth the effort!