(Mexican Hot Flower Soup)
This traditional Mexican soup makes a festive, rich red-and-green first course or light lunch. Stephanie Poland of Tucson, Arizona, suggests an interesting variation: toasting long grain rice (instead of the vermicelli) until light brown then stirring in pressed garlic and chopped onion before adding to the broth and simmering, covered, for 20 or so minutes until the rice is tender. Terry Pogue of Potomac, Maryland, citing a recipe from Julian Trevino's El Mirador, suggests a much more complex soup using rice with added onion, garlic, green peppper, and celery spiced also with basil, oregano, cumin, and cloves. Serve hot to 6-8 people.
Break the pasta into 1/2 inch pieces and fry in the oil until it's brown. Drain and add to the stock, while it is simmering in a saucepan. Cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken, tomato, green onion, and cook until the mixture is just heated through.
Ladle into bowls, garnish sparely with the cilantro, seeds, and avocado, and serve. Pass separate bowls of the garnish.