Also sometimes called ‘Aztec soup’, tortilla soup is something I could eat bowls and bowls of (unless of course it’s only one of a dozen dishes presented to you on a particular day, as was the case for the cooking class my cousins and I attended in Puerto Vallarta). In any case, it’s a perfect canvas for piling on toppings. Traditionally the soup is served with Cotija cheese, avocado and sour cream and of course topped with tortilla strips. If I were setting up a soup bar, I would also add wedges of lime, cilantro, shredded chicken, scallions and a variety of hot sauces. Here’s how to make it.
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
4 tortillas, cut into strips
4 Roma tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
1/2 white onion, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove
1 whole tortilla
6 cups chicken broth
2 sprigs epazote
3 guajillo chiles, warmed in a hot dry skillet and crumbled
6 Tablespoons Cotija cheese
6 Tablespoons sour cream
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet and fry the tortilla strips until lightly browned. Allow to drain on paper towels. Reserve skillet and tortilla oil.
In a blender, combine tomatoes, onion, whole tortilla, and garlic to a smooth consistency. Add this mixture to your skillet and fry for 5 minutes until the sauce is well-seasoned and slightly reduced.
In a stock pot, warm chicken broth. Add reduced mixture and crumbled chiles to the broth and bring to a boil. Check for salt and pepper to taste. Add the epazote and remove from heat.
In your bowls, add avocado slices and Cotija cheese. Ladle soup over the bowls and finish with sour cream and fried tortilla strips. Layer other toppings as desired.