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Sopa Azteca: A Classic Mexican Tortilla Soup

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Sopa Azteca, also known as tortilla soup, is a traditional Mexican dish that showcases the rich flavors and vibrant ingredients of Mexican cuisine. This comforting soup features a tomato-based broth enriched with pasilla chilies and is garnished with crispy tortilla strips, avocado, cheese, and crema. It’s a beloved dish that is both hearty and nourishing, perfect for any occasion. Sopa Azteca is not just a meal; it’s an experience that brings the essence of Mexico to your table.

Ingredients

  • 8 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pasilla chilies, seeds and stems removed, sliced
  • 5 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Tortilla Strips:
    • Heat about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
    • Once the oil is hot, fry the tortilla strips in batches until golden and crispy, about 2-3 minutes per batch.
    • Use a slotted spoon to transfer the strips to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the Soup Base:
    • In a large pot, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat.
    • Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
    • Add the minced garlic and pasilla chilies, cooking for another 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
    • Add the chopped tomatoes to the pot and cook until they begin to break down and release their juices, about 10 minutes.
    • Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Cook the Soup:
    • Return the blended mixture to the pot and add the chicken broth.
    • Stir in the ground cumin and dried oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    • Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  4. Add the Chicken:
    • If using, add the cooked, shredded chicken to the pot and let it heat through for about 5 minutes.
  5. Assemble and Serve:
    • To serve, ladle the soup into bowls.
    • Top each bowl with a handful of crispy tortilla strips.
    • Add diced avocado, crumbled queso fresco, a dollop of Mexican crema, and fresh cilantro leaves.
    • Serve with lime wedges on the side for an extra burst of flavor.

Tips for Serving

  • Sopa Azteca can be made vegetarian by omitting the chicken and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
  • For a spicier kick, consider adding a chopped jalapeño or a dash of hot sauce to the soup.
  • Sopa Azteca pairs wonderfully with a side of Mexican rice or a fresh green salad.

Conclusion

Sopa Azteca is more than just a soup; it’s a celebration of Mexican culinary traditions. Its rich, smoky broth, combined with the crunch of tortilla strips and the creaminess of avocado and cheese, makes it a truly unforgettable dish. Whether you’re enjoying it as a comforting meal on a chilly day or serving it as part of a festive Mexican feast, Sopa Azteca is sure to impress and satisfy. Embrace the warmth and flavor of this classic soup and bring a taste of Mexico to your kitchen.

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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