Unfortunately, when we think of the recetas de comida of Mexico in the United States, we too often think of tacos, tortilla chips, and salsa, and why not? Most of the 30,000 Mexican restaurants in the U.S., as tallied by IBIS World, have shaped their menus to fit the American conception of what Hispanic food from Mexico should be. Subsequently, you won’t see a lot of ceviche or flan at most stateside restaurants.
One of the greatest casualties of this mindset is el sopa azteca, or tortilla soup. Tortilla soup is one of those many recetas de comida from Mexico that are shrouded in mystery. As the LA Times writes, the origins of this savory, spicy soup likely trace back to Teotihuacan, the Aztec Empire’s ancient capital that was some 30 miles outside of modern day Mexico City. Beyond that, no one knows where or when this dish, consumed throughout Mexico for centuries, got its start.
Regardless of where it came from, el sopa azteca remains a key part of authentic Mexican cuisine. In the interest of getting you away from the notions of recetas de comidas de Mexico that Taco Bell helped instill, we’re going to show you how to make our version of tortilla soup. (Note: this recipe has been adapted from Chef Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill)
- 1 large chipotle or fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
- 1 15oz can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large avocado, cubed
- 1 lime, sliced into six equal slices
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 quarts vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 and 3/4 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- 4 cups broken tortillas
- 1 and 1/2 pounds halibut or cod, cubed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Add the tomatoes and chili pepper to a blender. Blend until pureed and completely smooth.
- Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed, medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. When it becomes fragrant, add the garlic and onion, sauteing both together until the onion starts to turn translucent.
- Carefully remove the onion and garlic mixture from the pan, leaving the new infused oil behind. Place the onion and garlic in the blender, blending it together with the tomato mixture until smooth.
- Gently add the pureed vegetable mixture to the saucepan, and allow it to thicken over the heat. When it reaches the consistency of tomato sauce, add the vegetable broth to the pan. Leave the mixture to simmer for 20 min, tasting and adding salt and pepper as you deem necessary.
- Add the cubes of fish to the simmering broth.
- Evenly distribute the cilantro, cheese, avocado, and tortilla chips between your serving bowls. When the fish is cooked through, serve the soup atop these garnishes. Top each bowl off with a healthy dollop of sour cream and a slice of lime around the rims.
To say that this version of el sopa azteca is perfectly authentic would be a lie. The classic versions use chicken stock and chicken meat instead of the veggie and fish, respectively. However, we’ve found that this version makes for a dish that’s not too heavy but still full of flavor. From our home to yours, enjoy this most classic of recetas de comida from Mexico. More like this.