Mexican Chicken Soup

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For stock:
3-4 lb whole chicken, excess skin and fat removed (liver and inner organs discarded)
10-12 cups water (or enough to just cover the chicken)
2 medium onions, quartered through the root end
2 medium carrots, halved
2 celery stalks, halved
2 serrano chilis, stemmed
2 springs of fresh thyme
half of a small bunch of fresh cilantro
2 dried bay leaves
1 tbsp salt
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

For soup:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 dried guajillo chilis, wiped clean, stemmed and seeded
1 tomato, seeded and roughly chopped
2 15 oz cans of hominy, drained and rinsed
4 cups homemade Mexican chicken stock (see above)
2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 cups shredded white meat chicken  
2/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
3 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
2 limes, quartered


Rinse chicken thoroughly in cold water.  Add chicken to a large stock pot.  Cover with cold water.  Add remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil, skimming fat and foam at the surface.  Reduce heat to simmer and simmer, partially covered for 45 minutes, until chicken is cooked through, skimming fat and foam at the surface occasionally.  Remove from heat and allow the chicken to cool in the broth.  Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, carefully transfer the chicken to a cutting board, remove the skin and coarsely shred.  Set aside 2 cups of shredded white meat for the soup.  Strain the broth and reserve 4 cups for the chicken soup.  If you have time, you can cool the broth in the refrigerator for a few hours and skim off the fat that solidifies on the top.  If not, that's ok too.  You can save the remaining stock in the freezer for a few months.

Heat oil in a large Le Creuset or other heavy pot over moderately-high heat.  Add chilis and cook, flattening with a spatula, until they are fragrant and begin to char in spots, about 30-40 seconds per side.  Remove from pot and set aside.  Add onion and tomato and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to brown, the tomatoes have softened and the mixture is fragrant.  Add hominy (I reserved a cup of hominy and added it at the end for texture), chicken stock and toasted chilis.  Bring mixture to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add salt and puree mixture with an immersion blender until smooth (if you don't have an immersion blender, cool the mixture slightly before pureeing in batches in a blender or food processor).  Add chicken and white wine to the soup.  Bring the soup back to a simmer and simmer 5 minutes.  Season to taste with s&p.

Serve soup with cilantro, scallions and lime wedges.