Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tortilla Soup

one of our favorites, from Cooks Illustrated March 2005


  • Tortilla Strips
  • 8 corn tortillas (6-inch), cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 1tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Table salt
  • Soup
  • 2 split bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds) or 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1 1/4 pounds), skin removed and well trimmed of excess fat
  • 8cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1very large white onion (about 1 pound), trimmed of root end, quartered, and peeled
  • 4medium cloves garlic , peeled
  • Table salt
  • 2sprigs epazote , fresh, or 8 to 10 sprigs fresh cilantro plus 1 sprig fresh oregano
  • 2 medium tomatoes , cored and quartered
  • 1/2 medium jalapeƱo chile
  • 1 chipotle chile en adobo , plus up to 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 1tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Garnishes
  • 1 lime , cut into wedges
  • 1 Hass avocado , diced fine
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • 8ounces cotija cheese , crumbled, or Monterey Jack cheese, diced fine
  • Minced jalapeno pepper
  • Mexican crema or sour cream


  1. 1. FOR THE TORTILLA STRIPS: Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 425 degrees. Spread tortilla strips on rimmed baking sheet; drizzle with oil and toss until evenly coated. Bake until strips are deep golden brown and crisped, about 14 minutes, rotating pan and shaking strips (to redistribute) halfway through baking time. Season strips lightly with salt; transfer to plate lined with several layers paper towels.

  2. 2. FOR THE SOUP: While tortilla strips bake, bring chicken, broth, 2 onion quarters, 2 garlic cloves, epazote, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boil over medium-high heat in large saucepan; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until chicken is just cooked through, about 20 minutes. Using tongs, transfer chicken to large plate. Pour broth through fine-mesh strainer; discard solids in strainer. When cool enough to handle, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces; discard bones.

  3. 3. Puree tomatoes, 2 remaining onion quarters, 2 remaining garlic cloves, jalapeƱo, chipotle chile, and 1 teaspoon adobo sauce in food processor until smooth. Heat oil in Dutch oven over high heat until shimmering; add tomato/onion puree and 1/8 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture has darkened in color, about 10 minutes. Stir strained broth into tomato mixture, bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer to blend flavors, about 15 minutes. Taste soup; if desired, add up to 2 teaspoons additional adobo sauce. Add shredded chicken and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. To serve, place portions of tortilla strips in bottom of individual bowls and ladle soup into bowls; pass garnishes separately.

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