Tortilla Soup

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Oct 15, 2002
Fort Worth, TX
The most famous tortilla soup I know of is the one made at The Mansion here in Dallas. But, as it is tomato-based, not what I generally think of on this subject. We consider tortilla soup to be what is otherwise called "chicken soup with lime and tortillas" (Oaxacan, I believe). Below is a variation that is a keeper.

Made a gallon-plus of chicken stock and a mild soup recently (see thread) and have been working several recipes since then to jazz it up. Hit the numbers tonight with a new (to me) version of tortilla soup, and wanted to share it with you.

With crisp tortillas & avocado relish (Gourmet 10/97)
Café Annie, Houston, Texas

Makes 10-cups


10-c Chicken stock, homemade (remove 50% of fat) with cooked, shredded meat
1-lb Tomatoes, plum
1-ea Onion, quartered
6-ea Garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
½-c Cilantro, fresh, finely-chopped
2-ea Chiles, Guajillo (dried or fresh)
2-ea Chiles, Pasilla (same)
10-ea Tortillas, white corn: [4] cut into thin strips; [6] quartered
1-tsp Oregano, Mexican; grind
2-tsp REDMOND RealSalt, coarsely-ground
2-c Oil, vegetable (or rendered leaf lard) to fry tortillas
2-ea Paper lunch sacks


3-4-ea Avocadoes, ripe
2-ea Tomatoes, small, vine ripened
1-ea Onion, large white (or two small)
2-ea Chiles, Serrano
2-Tbs Coriander, fresh (chopped)
3-ea Limes, freshly-squeezed (microwave fruit 20-sec first)
1-tsp REDMOND RealSalt, coarsely-ground

Prepare soup first, then, while simmering, fry tortilla pieces and make relish.


Preheat oven broiler.

Take quartered onion, whole tomatoes, garlic (and, if using fresh, chile peppers: cut slit near stem), and arrange in a single layer in a heavy cast-iron skillet and roast under broiler on high -- turning about every seven minutes – until tomatoes are well-blistered or slightly charred; total about 20”. Allow vegetables to cool.

Place chile peppers in a Ziploc bag for 20-30”. They should be slightly charred, if not, return to broiler. After sitting, stem and seed each; peel skin, and chop very finely.

(If using dried chiles, cut off stem closely and bring chiles to boil over medium heat. Turn off burner, cover, and soak for 20-30” Drain chile peppers of all water, slice down length, and use a dull butter knife to s****e pulp). Puree chile peppers in a blender until smooth. (Use a touch of water). Set aside.

In a rinsed blender cup, add quartered tomatoes to vegetable mixture and puree with chopped cilantro until smooth.


In a five-quart Dutch Oven, bring stock, meat, and chile pepper puree to a boil over medium heat and immediately reduce heat to a simmer (185F-205F; barely a bubble). Add vegetable mixture, oregano and salt once slow simmer established (about 10”), leave uncovered.

In a ten-inch cast iron skillet, bring oil to 375F and fry quarters in several batches, uncrowded. Set aside to cool on several layers of paper towels.

Bring heat back up and fry strips as above. Keep separate from strips.

Place quarters in doubled lunch sacks and use rolling pin to completely crumble. Add to soup in Dutch Oven. Soup should cook a total time of 30-45" or until slightly thickened.

AVOCADO RELISH (during simmer)

Take avocadoes, cut lengthwise, and remove pits, quarter and peel. Cut into ¼” dice. Finely chop tomatoes. Wearing disposable gloves, stem and seed Serrano peppers, finely-dice. Quarter and squeeze limes into juice, retain pulp as convenient. In a glass bowl, combine all relish ingredients and mix well. Cover and set aside with tortilla strips.

Divide relish into bowls (barely cover bottom) and add tortilla strips when soup has finished. Ladle soup over relish/strips and garnish with extra cilantro and/or lime wedges if desired.


1.5-C Corn (also roasted with mixture)

Bake tortilla strips/quarters instead of frying

Another (more) varieties of chile peppers in soup such as Cascabel, New Mexican, Ancho.
Sounds good. Is it common practice to serve the soup over the avocado relish or is that your own twist?
That is per the original recipe as printed in Gourmet. Not different than other soups in our experience. Red beans and rice is served in this manner.

The relish makes the soup.

Originally posted by TheTanSedan:
That is per the original recipe as printed in Gourmet. Not different than other soups in our experience. Red beans and rice is served in this manner.

The relish makes the soup.

It is? Please explain. I've never seen red beans and rice served over anything.
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