Serves 6


1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow onion

1 cup thinly sliced carrot

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 cup thinly sliced celery

2 quarts chicken stock

Salt and pepper to taste

11/2 cups cooked chicken meat, diced

2 cups frozen yellow corn

4 cups corn tortilla chips, or baked tortillas strips

2 cups Pepper Jack cheese, coarsely grated (optional)

Lime wedges, for serving

2 avocados, pitted and chopped


In a soup pot (3 quarts or larger), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and saute until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the cilantro, celery and chicken stock to the onion and carrots. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add in the diced chicken, corn and half of the corn chips or tortilla strips (broken up). Ladle into bowls and top each bowl with 1/3 cup of the Pepper Jack, if desired. Serve immediately and provide lime wedges, avocado and remaining chips as optional additions.

Marilyn Markel is culinary director of Southern Season’s cooking schools. She began her career as an instructor at the Central Market cooking school in Plano, Texas. In 2003 Markel moved to Chapel Hill, N.C., to develop Southern Season’s new cooking school. She served as a judge for the James Beard Cookbook Awards in 2013.