Mexican Tortilla Soup (Sopa Azteca) Recipe | SAVEUR

Mexican Tortilla Soup (Sopa Azteca)

Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup (Sopa Azteca)

This simple pasilla chile- and tomato-based soup is ladled onto tortilla chips and topped with creamy avocado, jack cheese, and tangy Mexican crema. Get the recipe for Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup (Sopa Azteca) »

Farideh Sadeghin

The first time I ate tortilla soup wasn't during my 23 years on American soil or even during a trip to Mexico—it was when I was living in New Zealand, working in a restaurant with people from all over the world. Every so often, some of us would get a day off and, funny enough, we'd spend that day together, cooking for one another. On one occasion, a German kid I worked with told us he was preparing tortilla soup, which he claimed to have learned how to make during a trip he had taken to Mexico (though thinking back to it, I'm pretty positive he was lying, but that's another story for another time). Either way, he made the soup, and I tasted the soup, and I fell in love (not with the German kid, but with the soup). Crunchy tortilla chips were divided between bowls, and the pasilla chile- and tomato-based broth was ladled over the top. Topped with avocado, cheese, and crema, this dish was perfection.

A few years ago, I left New Zealand and have since traveled to Mexico, where I ordered sopa Azteca at a few random restaurants. And believe it or not, every bowl I tasted was terrible, leaving my craving unfulfilled. After those instances, I didn't really think about the soup much. That is, until recently, when our soup-loving deputy editor Yaran Noti had a birthday coming up, and I knew the way to his heart wasn't with a towering layer cake—it was with soup. So, I prepared him this version from Rick Bayless, which I topped with avocado and a candle. And while it isn't quite the same as the one my friend made for me years ago on the other side of the world, it's still pretty spectacular.

Mexican Tortilla Soup (Sopa Azteca)
Sopa Azteca, or tortilla soup, is a simple and classic Mexican dish. Topped with avocado, cheese, and crema, this soul-satisfying soup is perfect pretty much any time of year.
serves 4-6
45 minutes

Ingredients

1 large pasilla chile
1 (15-oz.) can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp. canola oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
8 cups chicken stock
1 epazote or cilantro sprig (optional)
1 12 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 12-inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 oz. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1-2 avocados, diced
Crema or sour cream, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving
Tortilla chips (about 4 cups), crushed, for serving

Instructions

Toast the chile in a 6-quart saucepan over high heat, turning, until fragrant (alternatively, toast it over an open flame for a few seconds). Remove the stem and seeds and break the chile into pieces; transfer to a blender along with the tomatoes.
Heat oil in saucepan and cook garlic and onion until golden, 8-10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer garlic and onion to blender with the tomatoes and chile and purée until smooth.
Pour tomato mixture into saucepan and cook over medium-high until thick, 8-10 minutes. Add the stock and epazote, if using, and boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the chicken, salt, and pepper and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes more. Divide tortilla chips between bowls and ladle soup over; top with cheese, avocado, more tortilla chips, and crema. Serve with lime wedges on the side.

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