Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tortilla Soup

I love the way Rick  Bayless writes a recipe. He gives as much information about the people and the culture as he does the measurements of ingredients. Mexico One Plate At A Time can be devoured one page at a time even before you turn the burner on! His passion for the Mexican people and cuisine is evident in the way the cookbook is written. Try this Tortilla Soup and savor the soul satisfying, earthy flavors of Mexico.

Tortilla Soup (Sopa Azteca) Serves 4-6          Print Recipe
1 large dried pasilla chile, or ancho stemmed and seeded
One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted)
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 medium white onion,
sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 quarts chicken broth
1 large epazote sprig, if you have one
4 (about 1 1/4 pounds total) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large ripe avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Mexican melting cheese (like Chihuahua, quesadilla or asadero) or Monterey Jack, brick or mild cheddar
A generous 4 cups (about 6 ounces) roughly broken tortilla chips
1/2 cup Mexican crema, sour cream or creme fraîche for garnish
1 large lime, cut into 6 wedges, for serving

Quickly toast the chile by turning it an inch or two above an open flame for a few seconds until its aroma fills the kitchen. (Lacking an open flame, toast it in a dry pan over medium heat, pressing it flat for a few seconds, then flipping it over and pressing it again.) Break the chile into pieces and put in
a blender jar along with the tomatoes with their juice. (A food processor will work, though it won’t completely puree the chile.)
Heat the oil in a medium (4-quart) saucepan over medium-high. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 7 minutes. Scoop up the onion and garlic with a slotted spoon, pressing them against the side of the pan to leave behind as much oil as possible, and transfer to the blender. Process until smooth.
Return the pan to medium-high heat. When quite hot, add the puree and stir nearly constantly, until thickened to the consistency of tomato paste, about 6 minutes. Add the broth and epazote, if using. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt, usually about a generous teaspoon (depending on the saltiness of the broth).
Just before serving, add the chicken to the simmering broth. Divide the avocado, cheese and tortilla chips between serving bowls. When the chicken is done, usually about 5 minutes, ladle the soup into the bowls. Garnish with the crema.  Pass the lime separately.


  1. I adore Rick Bayless! You should submit this to Girlichefs tortilla soup challenge.

  2. YUM!!! and.. what Pam said!

  3. I just had tortilla soup for the first time a couple of days ago--I'm so glad you posted a recipe for it--I'll either have to make it or convince my co-worker that she needs to bring it again!! :-))

    Hope you've had a good week!!

  4. I don't know who Rick Bayless is... but I do know I am totally pregnant and totally hungry.
    Awesome recipe!

  5. I love that you told which cheese melt because I never know which Mexican cheese to buy and I haven't been very successful. The pictures were fabulous. The one of the peppers is just great.
    We love tortilla soup. One of our favs!

  6. Yummm. My youngest son and DIL love to cook from Rick's cookbook. LBeau and I got to have lunch at Frontera Grill, one of his restaurants in Chicago, about a year ago. Couldn't get dinner reservations. Food was outstanding.


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