Classic Tortilla Soup with all the Trimmings

Sopa de Tortilla
Servings: 10cups, about 6 servings


  • 1 large dried pasilla (negro) chile, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 large epazote sprig (if you don’t have epazote a handful of cilantro will give a nice herby flavor)
  • 4(about 1 ¼ pounds total) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • Salt
  • 1 large ripe avocado, peeled, seeded and cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2cups (6 ounces) shredded Mexican melting cheese (like Chihuahua, quesadilla or asadero) or Monterey Jack, brick or mild cheddar
  • A generous quart (about 6 ounces) roughly broken tortilla chips
  • 1 large lime, cut into 6 wedges


Tear the chile in half lengthwise and remove the seed pod and seeds.  Toast it in a hot dry pan over medium heat, pressing it flat for a few seconds, then flipping it over and pressing it again.  Break the chile into pieces and put in a blender jar along with the tomatoes with their juice.  (A food processor will work, though it won’t completely puree the chile.)

Heat the oil in a medium (3- to 4-quart) saucepan over medium-high.  Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 7 minutes.  Scoop up the onion and garlic with a slotted spoon, pressing them against the side of the pan to leave behind as much oil as possible, and transfer to the blender.  Process until smooth.

Raise the heat under the pan to medium-high.  When quite hot, add the puree and stir nearly constantly, until thickened to the consistency of tomato paste, about 6 minutes. Add the broth and epazote.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.  Taste and season with salt, usually about a generous teaspoon (depending on the saltiness of the broth).

Just before serving, add the chicken to the simmering broth.  Divide the avocado, cheese and tortilla chips between serving bowls.  When the chicken is done, usually about 5 minutes, ladle the soup into the bowls.


  1. Okc kid your cooking! PC class of 72.
    House in baja de los Mertos. Beautiful Bay! Great fishing!

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