- For the broth:
- 5 cloves garlic unpeeled
- 2 chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 12 cups water
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 whole cloves
- 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt or more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- For the sofrito:
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus more for frying tortilla strips
- 1/2 red onion chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 green or yellow bell pepper stemmed, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 pound ripe tomatoes chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
- To serve:
- 6 to 8 corn tortillas cut into 2"x1/2" strips
- 1 thinly sliced lima (lemon or lime) for garnish
- 2 to 3 limas (lemon or lime) to add right before serving
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves and upper stems chopped, for garnish
- 1 habanero chile finely chopped (optional)
- For the broth: Place the unpeeled garlic cloves under the broiler, or on a pre-heated comal set over medium heat, and roast or char for 10 minutes, flipping a couple times in between, until completely blackened. Set aside.
- Place chicken breasts in a soup pot and cover with 12 cups water. Add the charred garlic cloves, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, whole cloves, salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Partially cover with a lid and cook for 40 minutes, until the chicken is completely cooked through yet still tender. Remove from the heat. Remove the chicken breasts and once cool enough to handle, shred into fine pieces. Strain the broth into a large bowl, incorporate the shredded chicken, and reserve.
- For the sofrito: Rinse and dry the soup pot. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion, bell pepper, tomato and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are completely cooked through and practically mashed and mushy.
- Pour the reserved chicken broth and shredded chicken into the pot with the sofrito, bring back to a simmer, and cook partially covered for 8 to 10 minutes, until all the flavors have come together.
- Heat about 1/4" of oil in a deep skillet or casserole and set over medium heat. Once hot, working in batches, flash fry the corn tortilla strips for 10 to 15 seconds until lightly golden, and remove with a slotted spoon or spider. Place on a plate covered with paper towels, drain and lightly season with salt. Alternatively, you spread the tortilla strips on a baking sheet and bake at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 15 minutes, flipping once in between.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and add a couple very thin slices of lima. Top with tortilla strips, and give everyone a half a lima to squeeze into their soup right before they eat it. Additionally, you may set out chopped cilantro and habanero for everyone to garnish as they please.