I wanted to post this recipe because there are so many versions of this simple yet spectacular soup out there but very few, if any, are authentic. This recipe is the real deal. It is the same recipe I grew up eating when I would visit my grandmother in Mexico every summer. The days the soup was to be served for lunch, mornings would be filled with aromas of sautéed chiles, roasted tomatoes and fried tortillas. The soup is the combination of many many layers of flavors and textures. Though simple to make, there are a generous amount of steps. So this isn't a quick meal to make. But it's worth the effort.
A word on ingredients. This tortilla soup is made using dried chiles that are considered specialty chiles. If you do not have a Mexican grocer or a store that sells these kinds of items nearby, please order them online. There are many online grocers that sell a wide variety of Mexican dried chiles.
6-7 cups chicken bone broth (either homemade or store bought)
2 Chicken Breasts (you can also use leftover roasted chicken, see below)
The Soup Base:
2-3 Dried Pasilla Chiles (lightly rinsed, de-seeded and broken into 1 inch pieces)
2 Dried Anchos Chiles (lightly rinsed, de-seeded and broken into 1 inch pieces)
1 can of fire roasted tomatoes or 4-5 tomatoes roasted in the oven.
1 white onion chopped
4-5 peeled garlic cloves
3/4 cup oil (either olive or corn oil)
A bunch of cilantro
Salt and Pepper
5 tortillas cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons olive oil or corn oil
2 Jalapeños Chiles sliced very thinly
2 ripe avocados cut into thin slices
2 cups of Queso Fresca like panela (shredded or cut into small cubes)
1 cup Mexican style cream (crema)
1/2 cup finely sliced radish
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
1 lime cut into small wedges
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Let's begin with the chicken breasts. You can grill them or oven roast them. However you cook them, the breasts must be cooked through, cooled and meat shredded. I have also used leftover roasted chicken.
In a small sauté pan heat 1/4 cup oil. Once hot, add your dry chiles. Cook until they have softened a bit and become aromatic. Remove from heat and let it cool a little. Then scrape them and the oil into a blender. Add your chopped onions, can of tomatoes (or oven roasted tomatoes), cilantro and garlic. Blend ingredients until smooth. Heat the remaining oil in a medium-large pot. Once hot, add the blended mixture and cook until it deepens in color and is aromatic. Adjust the seasoning and remove from heat.
In a stockpot, heat your broth and your shredded chicken. Once hot, add the cooked mixture. Stir to combine and set heat medium to medium-low (light simmer). Cook for at least 30 minutes and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.
In a large mixing bowl, add tortilla strips, a generous pinch of salt and the oil. Toss to coat all the tortilla strips. Scatter the strips onto a lined baking sheet (I line it with aluminum foil, but you can use parchment paper or a silicon mat). Bake until golden brown. Remove from oven and let them cool completely. Try not to eat them all, they smell incredible fresh from the oven.
When you are ready to serve, ladle some broth and chicken into a bowl. Add a sprinkle of cheese. Then comes the color, add a pinch of lettuce, some tortilla strips, a few radish and jalapeño slices followed by some avocado. Finally drizzle a tiny bit of crema.