This is Tex-Mex at its best. It's a great chicken soup recipe. I have not prepared this recipe, but I have eaten it and it's delish. The recipe came from the Chiquita Mexican Cuisine restaurant in Dallas, TX.
Combine chicken broth, bay leaves and chicken breast in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is tender. Remove the chicken from the broth. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting to keep the broth warm. Chop the cooled chicken into small pieces.
Heat olive oil in small pan. Add the poblano pepper strips, 1/2 the sliced onion and the garlic. Saute until the vegetables are soft. Remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside to use as garnish.
Place the remaining onion in the same pan and saute until soft. Set aside.
Place whole tomatoes into hot chicken broth for 1 minute. Remove tomatoes and slip off skins. Set tomatoes aside.
Add vermicelli to simmering broth and cook for 4-6 minutes or until it is al dente. Remove the pasta from the broth and reserve.
Do not discard the broth.
Pour warm water over dried chili pepper to soften. This should take about 10 minutes. Chop cilantro stems and add to broth along with the thyme, cumin & marjoram, and tomato paste. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Drain softened chili pepper. Remove the stem, slit down the length and remove the seeds. Place the seeded chili pepper, peeled tomatoes, and sauteed onion in a blender or food processor and process until it is a paste consistency. Add to the simmering broth. Add pasta and chopped chicken.
Chop the reserved cilantro leaves finely. You should have about 2 tablespoons. Garnish soup with chopped cilantro, reserved poblano pepper strips and cooked onion slices.