By Jesus Adrian Ledezma
A long time ago someone told me that when you go to a restaurant, you should order a dish you’re not likely to cook at home, either because you don’t know how, or because it’s too complicated to prepare.
Sure enough, every time I go out to eat, I try to order some kind of soup. The reason is that I don’t know how to prepare a good caldo, and because I’m tired of canned menudo.
But for the sake of this column, I will learn how to prepare one of the oldest soups eaten in Mexico and the American Southwest. So I hope you’ll practice your cooking skills along with me so that next time you go to that “authentic” Mexican food restaurant you don’t order tortilla soup.
Also known as Sopa Azteca, tortilla soup originated centuries ago when the Spaniards arrived in Mexico. The combination of European cooking style with native ingredients made this soup one of the most representative of the Mexican menu… and one of the most delicious, too.
When you get to your kitchen, blend tomatoes, onions, garlic, guajillo chiles and epazote. Then put the chicken in a saucepan to a simmer. In another saucepan heat corn oil over low heat, and add the sauce you have in the blender. After 20 minutes of cooking, add the chicken, salt and pepper, and cook for another 20 minutes.
While you wait for your soup to be ready, cut the tortilla into strips and fry them in hot oil until they’re crispy. If you prefer, you can go to your local supermarket and get a bag of tortilla chips. That’ll work, too.
At dinner time, serve your soup with the tortilla strips on top, avocado, sour cream, cheese, chile strips and chicharron. Buen provecho!
(Ingredients for serving of four):
1 quart chicken broth
2 tomatoes, roasted and peeled
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 white onion, peeled and chopped
2 guajillo chiles, seeded and deveined, soaked in hot water until soft
4 epazote leaves
crumbled queso fresco
Chicharrón (pork rinds) or shredded cooked chicken
Strips or rings of guajillo chile
Recipe courtesy of Karen Hursh Graber, Mexico Connect
If after reading this article you feel overwhelmed by the amount of time you’ll spend at the kitchen (as I do), try these places, which according to our LPM staff, serve very tasty tortilla soup:
Asi es la Vida
3602 N. 24th St. Phoenix
Lone Butte Casino 1077 S. Kyrene Rd. Chandler
La Parrilla Suiza
Mesa, Phoenix, Peoria & Tucson