Tortilla Soup

This recipe is one that we use to make often. I made it for lunch this weekend and it turned out quite good. We used a recipe from Cooks Ilustrated and Rick Bayless’s Mexico: One plate at a time, and sort of mashed them together in the way that suited us best.

6-7 tortillas
1 chile pasilla or chile ancho
2 T. vegetable oil
1 white onion
4 cloves garlic
4 small tomatoes (like roma, or a can of diced tomatoes)
2 T. vegetable oil
4-6 chicken thighs, or other chicken parts (not all breast meat)
1-2 sprigs epazote (Good Luck!)
9 c. water (part chicken broth, or with additional ½ onion and 2 cloves garlic, or both)
lime wedges
queso cotija (or some other kind of dry salty cheese)
crema (or sour cream) (optional)

1st – cut tortillas in strips that are ~ ½ in. wide and 1 ½ in. long. Fry, slowly, at a medium heat in a skillet with oil until brown and crisp. When the tortillas hit the oil they will soak it all up, so stir frequently in the first minute or two so that all the tortilla pieces get some oil on them. Be patient, stir occasionally. This should take about 30 minutes, or so.

2nd – place chicken thighs and epazote in water with broth. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer until thighs are cooked, about 15 minutes.

3rd – quarter onion and place in food processor with garlic. Process until finely chopped.

4th – once tortillas are crunchy and brown remove from skillet to a paper towel-lined plate. Remove stem and seeds from chile and tear into flat pieces. In the same hot skillet, briefly toast until they smell nice, about 1 minute. Place on the same plate with the tortillas.

5th – remove chicken from broth and skin and de-bone, if necessary. Remove the epazote from the broth (and any onions or garlic). Shred meat and return to broth.

6th – heat skillet with vegetable oil and when oil shimmers, add onion and garlic mixture. While the onion and garlic fry, add tomatoes to the food processor and process until finely chopped. (Some people will want to skin the tomatoes first. It’s up to you. The skin will separate in your soup.)

7th – after the onions and garlic have started to turn a bit translucent, but not brown, add the tomatoes. Fry until they reach the consistency of tomato paste (10 minutes or so).

8th – carefully transfer tomato mixture into broth and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Taste for salt.

Assembly: In each bowl place a small handful of tortillas, some sliced avocado, crumbled chile and crumbled queso cotija (some people put runny monterrey jack in their tortilla soup, but I prefer a hard, dry, salty cheese in mine). Ladle soup over the garnishes. Serve with lime wedges and creama (if you like).

The soup will freeze without the garnishes. The tortillas and chile will keep in a sealed plastic bag.


2 Responses to “Tortilla Soup”

  1. Lunchroom questions « Al otro lado Says:

    […] She said yes and so I responded, “Well today I’m having Tortilla Soup.” […]

  2. bethberes Says:

    Love Tortilla Soup

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