Tortilla Soup

1 3(ish) lb. chicken
1 carrot
1 celery rib
1 onion
1 bay leaf
1 gal. water, or enough water to cover the chicken

Place all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook for 2 hours. Remove chicken and strain the broth. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat and reserve for soup. I typically do this the day before I make the final soup. You can also use a larger chicken and double the recipe so that you can freeze half the chicken broth for another time.

Chile Mixture:
6 dried pasilla, guajillo or ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
1 white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 t. dried Mexican oregano
1/2 t. ground cumin
1 c. tomato sauce
2 c. water

Gently simmer all of the ingredients for 30 minutes. Puree in a blender, then add to the strained chicken broth and simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Season with salt to taste. This soup base can be refrigerated for three days or frozen for up to six weeks.

To serve soup:
Divide the ingredients below into eight large soup bowls.

About 4 c. tortilla chips
Shredded chicken, from the broth
1/2 lb. Cotija and/or grated jack cheese
1 white onion, diced
1 1/2 c. cilantro leaves, roughly chopped or whole
2 avocados, sliced or diced
8 radishes, diced

* Mexican limes: serve lime wedges on the side to squeeze into soup.

Pour about two cups of hot broth into bowls and serve immediately.

In terms of serving yields, this recipe makes about a gallon of soup broth, which makes about eight servings.


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