Contrary to Pozole, Tortilla Soup is not a celebratory but an everyday soup. According to some archeologists, the soup dates back to the prehispanic days. The story goes that it was first invented in the state of Tlaxcala, which in the Náhuatl means the place of tortilla abundance. It is believed that the soup was created from the need to prepare foods that were easily digestible with the ingredients on-hand. The story continues, saying that it was the Spaniards that introduced the cooking of soups to Mesoamerica. This explains the use of cheese and cream on the soup. A delicious result from the fusion of two worlds.
Depending on where in Mexico, the Tortilla Soup is also known as Aztec Soup but, given the controversy around the Aztec word, let’s stick with Tortilla Soup. More on the Aztec word controversy on the Aztecs vs Mexicas blog.
I find that this recipe is great for cold days but it is equally good for any day, both lunch and dinner. The soup is prepared using fried corn tortilla strips that are dipped in a salsa made with onion, tomatoes, and garlic. For this recipe, we will use chipotle chillies as these are easier to find outside of Mexico, but Arbol chilli is used for the more traditional recipe. The tortilla soup is garnished with pasilla chille, pork crackling, avocado, cheese, and cream.
For a vegetarian and vegan version of the recipe check this link Vegetarian Tortilla Recipe.
Traditional Tortilla Soup
- Frying pan
- 10 nixtamalised corn tortillas preferably from La Tortilleria
- 1 white onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 7 tomatoes
- 600 ml chicken stock
- 2 avocados
- 100 ml sour cream
- 1 small bunch of coriander
- 200 grams ricotta or fetta cheese
- 1 tbsp chipotle chilies in adobo replace with ground Arbol chili is available.
- vegetable oil
- salt and pepper
- Prepare your corn tortilla strips by cutting each into thin 1cm strips and place them into the oven at 150°C for 20 minutes.
- Blend the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and chipotle chillies until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into a saucepan bring to the boil for 5 minutes and season to taste.
- Heat a 3mm layer of cooking oil in a frying pan (enough to cover the base of the pan) and fry the tortilla strips until slightly golden and crunchy.
- Serve the soup in a bowl with the tortilla strips placed on top and a dollop of sour cream in the middle. On a separate plate, arrange the condiments including the avocado slices, coriander, and crumbed cheese.