When you think of tortilla soup, you probably think of cheddar cheese, tortilla chips and tons of cumin. This is a different tortilla soup. This is OG, straight outta Mexico Sopa de Tortilla AKA Sopa Azteca. Guajillo and Pasilla chiles create a bright red broth containing shredded chicken and melty cheese, topped with crispy fried tortilla strips, avocado chunks and cilantro.
Basically love in a bowl.
Makes 8 large servings.
6 chicken thighs, skin removed and trimmed of excess fat
1/2 of a medium white or yellow onion
1 head of garlic, whole, loose/excess skin removed
2 inch piece of Mexican cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1 small bunch of cilantro
2 tablespoons epazote (optional)
4 Guajillo chiles
2 Pasilla chiles
salt or chicken bouillon to taste
4 very ripe Roma tomatoes
1-2 Arbol chiles for heat.
Mix-ins and toppings:
2 cups shredded queso oaxaca or shredded mozzarella cheese
2 avocados, chopped
2 cups diced ripe roma tomatoes or split cherry or grape tomatoes
10 corn tortillas cut into strips
Oil for frying
1 cup cilantro leaves roughly chopped
1 cup crema mexicana
8 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
- Place the chicken thighs in a large pot with the onion, whole garlic, cinnamon, bay leaves, cilantro, salt or chicken bouillon and the optional epazote.
- Add water to cover and bring to a boil over medium high heat, skimming the foam as it accumulates on the surface. Cook 40 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165º F
- While the chicken cooks, split the Guajillo and Pasilla chiles and remove stems, seeds and veins. If you chose to use the optional Arbol chiles, remove the stems and leave them whole.
- In a pan over medium heat, carefully fry the chiles in a tablespoon of oil until blistered and slightly darkened on all sides. Be sure to turn the chiles often and should they slip past dark brown to even slightly black, toss them and start over. Even slightly burnt chiles pick up a strong bitter taste that will ruin your tortilla soup experience.
- Place the chiles and tomatoes in a blender.
- Remove the chicken from the broth and allow to cool.
- Strain the broth and return to the stove. Lower to medium heat.
- Add a cup of the strained broth to the blender with the chiles and tomatoes and blend until smooth.
- Strain the chile-tomato sauce into the broth and continue to boil 20-30 minutes.
- While the broth reduces, fry the tortilla strips in oil over medium to medium high heat until crisp and place them on a paper towel to drain.
- When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones. Shred and remove any fat or ugly bits.
- Once the broth is reduced slightly, salt to taste and remove from heat.
Once all of the ingredients are prepared, get a big bowl ready, it’s go time.
- Add a little of the chicken to the bottom of the bowl.
- Sprinkle in a little queso oaxaca or shredded mozzarella.
- Cover with broth.
- Add a small handful of fried tortilla strips.
- Layer on chopped avocado.
- A drizzle of crema mexicana if you choose.
- Chopped tomatoes.
- Maybe a sprinkle of the optional crumbled queso fresco?
- A pinch of chopped cilantro leaves.
You’re gonna need a few napkins with this one.
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