When the rains keep falling we make soup in Mexico.
Mexico has many traditional sopas, guiso & caldos but our all time favorite is Tortilla soup. I love soup when cooler temperatures hit but in Mexico that's not always the case. When our recent flooding & rains continued I used it as an excuse for cooking up a pot of Sopa. Lord knows, at the end of a day of rain & navigating flooded roadways it really hits the spot.
When it rains in Mexico it pours. Last week's downpours did bring cooler temperatures but the roads in Santiago were difficult at best to navigate for several days. Our entrance to our Colonia was completely flooded out & of the 2 alternate routes only 1 was was open. The flood control arms we are used to seeing in the states are non existent here. My driver had to be enlightened on the amount of water it takes to move a car off of a flooded spillway. He seemed prepared to fearlessly head into the high water at one point. I told him in the Texas public service announcement format: "Turn around, don't drown", "Two feet of water can lift approx. 3000 lbs"!!! Under no circumstances would I sit in the back seat quietly with flood waters hitting the underside of the Audi! (Fearless Latin driving has no place on a flooded roadway.) After arriving back at our house I knew it was soup weather if not temperatures in Mexico.
Sopa de Tortilla
12 small corn tortillas, cut into strips
6 cups Chicken stock
2 large chicken breasts with skin & bones
3 chiles pasilla, lightly fried & crumbled*(see below!)
6 Tbsp. Grated Queso Chihuahua or Monterrey Jack
3 large tomatoes, broiled (can substitute 13 oz can, drained)
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2/3 cups chopped carrots
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. cumin
Avocado, diced onion for garnish
Cook chicken breasts in stock, pull off meat,skin & chop & reserve stock leaving 6 cups of original stock along with the meat. Set this mixture aside.
In a large dutch oven heat 6 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil. Fry tortilla strips till crisp & drain on paper towels. There should be a remaining 2-3 Tbsp. oil. Use a blender to blend tomatoes, onion & garlic to rough puree. Cook this mixture 5 min. in oil, Add Cumin, black pepper, carrots, 3 Tbsp. Cilantro, add in the Chicken stock & chicken. Simmer soup 15 min.
Serve Soup with garnish of tortilla strips, avocado, onion, cilantro & cheese.
*Frying the dried chiles pasilla for the first time was a dangerous undertaking, I didn't realize they tend to explode, make certain to fry the peppers at low to med. heat & very quickly. These peppers add a wonderful flavor, don't omit them altogether. Enjoy!