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Tortilla Soup

Serves 6 - 8

3 T. corn oil 
1 c. onions, puréed 
2 c. fresh tomatoes, puréed 
1 T. cumin powder 
1 tsp. chili powder 
1 bay leaf 
1/2 branch epazote (pungent Mexican herb) 
2 T. tomato purée
 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
2 quarts chicken stock 
2 corn tortillas, chopped 
salt and cayenne pepper to taste 
1 breast of chicken, cooked and cut into strips 
1 avocado, peeled and cubed 
3 oz. cheddar cheese, grated 
3 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips and fried
 In a soup pot, heat the corn oil and sauté the tortillas with garlic and epazote. Add onions and fresh puréed tomatoes; bring to a boil. Add cumin, tomato purée, bay leaf, chili powder, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil again. Add salt and cayenne pepper to taste and cook for 1/2 hour. Strain through a fine strainer and remove all large particles. Place the soup in a warm bowl and add the desired garnishes. 
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