Tortilla Soup or ‘Sopa Azteca’

22 Jan

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This soup isn’t bold and strong but rather mild and delicate, but I promise that after your third or fourth mouthful you’ll be absolutely loving it. There are a few ingredients in this soup that may be quite hard to find in some places – in particular, the pasilla chillies which are typically used to enhance the fragrance and texture of the soup. But it doesn’t matter if you don’t have them. Nor does it matter if you don’t have any enchilada sauce to add. It is nice the way I make it but if you conduct a basic google search for tortilla soup you will soon see that there are literally hundreds of different versions of this soup. It’s just the basic idea that I love. I’ve put a note on substitutions and variations on the theme at the bottom of this recipe.

Here’s what you’ll need

Serves 6 as an entree or 4 as a main

1 cup vegetable oil

6 small corn tortillas

1 dried pasilla chilli, stem and seeds removed, sliced

1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 litre chicken stock

1 small chicken breast or 6 chicken tenders

1 cup enchilada sauce

1 ripe avocado, diced

4 radishes, thinly sliced

1 tablespoons or around 50 grams mild crumbly feta, crumbled

1 lime, quartered

Steps…

1. Heat oil in a medium sized saucepan to a good frying temperature – around 185 celsius, 365 fahrenheit

2. Cut tortillas into 1 inch strips and fry in the hot oil. Drain on paper towel or in a colander. Set aside.

3. Tip out most of the oil except about 2 tablespoons. Fry the pasilla chillies for about 20 seconds. Drain on paper towel and when cooled crumble the chillies slightly to break them up. Set aside.

4. Gently fry the onion and garlic in the oil until translucent. Add chicken stock and enchilada sauce along with chicken. Simmer on low heat until chicken is cooked through – 10-20 minutes. Remove chicken from broth and shred or cut into pieces.

5. To serve, you can either put out all of the garnishes and let people serve themselves at the table, or divide the tortilla strips between shallow bowls and top with a small amount of each garnish. Pour two or three ladles of hot soup into the bowl and enjoy!

Substitutions…

Use mild cheddar instead of the feta. It goes melty and delicious. If you have a local deli that sells queso fresco – this is traditional and delicious.

Cooked black beans, kidney beans, or even leftover re-fried beans are tasty and could replace the chicken.

Any vegetable can be added to the soup – chayote/choko, capsicum, potato, zucchini or squash are all nice.

A sprinkle of cayenne pepper instead of the pasilla chilli would be fine if you don’t have a Mexican importer nearby.

Any other suggestions? Add them in the comments section! 

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