FOR THE SOUP:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 jalapeño, seeds removed, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 ½ teaspoons chile powder
2 chipotles in adobo, finely chopped
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and crushed
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen and thawed
Tortilla strips (crunchy
1 avocado, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
¾ cup crumbled queso fresco or shredded Cheddar or Monterey jack
¾ cup sour cream or crema
½ cup chopped cilantro
¼ red or yellow onion, finely chopped
Lime wedges, for serving
Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and jalapeño and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and translucent, 5 to 8 minutes. Add chile powder and stir to coat. Cook a minute or two to toast the spices, then add chipotles and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes start to caramelize a bit on the bottom of the pot, concentrating their flavor.
Add vegetable broth, corn and 2 cups of water. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Simmer until flavors meld and broth tastes rich and flavorful, 15 to 20 minutes.
Divide soup among bowls and top with avocado, cheese, sour cream, cilantro, onion and remaining fried tortilla strips (maybe submerge some of the tortilla strips. Serve lime alongside for squeezing.