(Tortilla Soup)

Every region of Mexico has its own version of tortilla soup, sometimes called Sopa de Ajo or Garlic Soup. Originally developed as a way to use day old tortillas, it is a delicious and satisfying soup. This recipe is much faster to make with canned tomatoes, but will not have the subtle roasted flavor.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

1/3 cup vegetable oil (enough to create a ½ inch depth)

12 tortillas cut into fine strips

3 large tomatoes (approximately 1 pound) or 1, 14 ounce can stewed tomatoes

2/3 cup chopped onion (1 medium)

8 cloves garlic, minced

12 cups richly flavored chicken stock (canned, freshly made or reconstituted bouillion)

1 to 2 teaspoons Pecos Valley Spice Co. Chipotle Powder

1 1/2 cups poached chicken (poached in chicken stock)

2/3 cup crumbled queso blanco or feta cheese

1 large avocado

1/3 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped

2 limes, cut into wedges

1 teaspoon pure ground Pecos Valley Spice Co. Red Chile

  1. Heat oil, in a small skillet or pan. When hot, quickly fry the tortilla strips until they are crisp, stirring with a meat fork until the rapid bubbling has subsided. Drain well. Reserve about a Tablespoon of the oil in the skillet. In the meantime, if using fresh tomatoes, cut an “x” on the bottom of each and place them under the broiler or on a heavy griddle or frying pan and blacken the skins. Peel and puree in the blender. (If using canned, puree.)
  1. Sauté the onion until it becomes clear, then add the garlic and cook for about two minutes more. Remove to a stock pot and add the tomato puree and simmer about five minutes. Then add the stock, chipotle powder and cook covered for at least 15 minutes, or until the flavor is well developed. Taste and add salt if desired.

  1. To serve, divide the tortilla strips among the soup bowls, then add the chicken, crumbled cheese and, cubed avocado. Add the soup, then top with cilantro.
  1. Serve wedges of lime on the side. Garnish the cut side of the lime by lightly touching it with pure red Pecos Valley ground Mild Red Chile.

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