Tortilla Soup

The story of how I learned to make the most popular of all Mexican soups goes back to my father's restaurant in Acapulco. I had recently graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1991 and was in Mexico spending my first days in the restaurant kitchen alongside Chucho, who was the chef. It was from watching him that I learned how to make the best Mexican soup I have ever had, which I now serve at my restaurants. But the learning didnt stop there. He also showed me how to create all the basic Mexican sauces. I am forever grateful for the opportunity I had to work with Chucho in the kitchen. Buen provecho! -Chef Richard Sandoval

  Photo Credit: Channing Broderick, Richard Sandoval Hospitality

Photo Credit: Channing Broderick, Richard Sandoval Hospitality

Tortilla Soup

Serves: 4
Total Calories: 215

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 (6- to 7-inch) corn tortillas 
  • vegetable oil for frying 
  • 1 guadjillo chile (stemmed, seeded, veins removed, and cut into pieces)
  • 1 ancho chile (stemmed, seeded, veins removed, and cut into pieces)
  • 1/4 large Spanish onion, chopped 
  • 1 clove garlic (medium), chopped 
  • 6 plum tomatoes (about 12 ounces) quartered 
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock, canned or homemade 
  • 1 sprig , (about 6-inch) fresh epazote 
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste 
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice 
  • 1 teaspoon honey 
  • 1/2 avocado (Hass variety preferred), finely diced (1/2 inch) 
  • 3 ounces , finely diced queso, fresco (fresh Mexican cheese) 
  • 1/4 cup Mexican crema or sour cream 

DIRECTIONS:

1. Cut 2 of the tortillas into 1/2-inch squares (like confetti). Reserve. In a medium skillet, pour oil to a depth of about 1 inch and heat until the oil shimmers. Fry the 4 whole tortillas, 1 at a time, turning with tongs, until crisp and golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels. In the same hot oil, fry the tortilla squares until golden brown. With a slotted spoon remove the squares and drain on paper towels. Reserve in a bowl. 

2. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and fry the chiles, onion, and garlic, stirring, until the onion and garlic start to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, and cook, stirring, until the juices are bubbling, about 3 minutes. 

3. Break the fried whole tortillas into spoon-size pieces and add to the tomato mixture along with the chicken stock and epazote. Bring to a boil reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 25 minutes. Remove the epazote and transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth. Pour the soup through a strainer into a large bowl. Discard the debris. 

4. Rinse the pan and return the soup to the pan. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, uncovered, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Season with salt, lime juice, and honey. The soup should be the consistency of heavy cream. If too thick, add hot chicken broth or water to reach the desired consistency. To serve, place a portion of the tortilla squares, avocado, and cheese in the center of 4 shallow soup bowls. Ladle in the hot soup. Top with a dollop of crema.