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Mains, Quick and Easy, Soups

Cafe Verde tortilla soup

Cafe Verde tortilla soup
Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

A great tortilla soup can be a revelation -- rich with an intriguing roasted-corn flavor, vibrant with color and toasty, tantalizing aromas. Classic tortilla soup, the way you'd find it in Mexico City, is simply good chicken broth combined with ... Read more

Total time: 55 minutes | Serves 4
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 large white onion, peeled
  • 6 whole corn tortillas, plus 2 more cut into thin strips and fried for garnish
  • 2 dried ancho chiles
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 1 cup vegetable stock, or more to taste
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground dried ancho chiles, or more to taste
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Step 1In batches, on a grill or rack (such as a cooling rack) over an open stovetop flame, roast the tomatoes, onion and whole tortillas until lightly spotted with brown, then roast the chiles for a few seconds (after which they'll start to burn). Break the tortillas into pieces.

Step 2Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the garlic cloves and saute over medium-low heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon. Add the onion, chiles, tortilla pieces, bay leaf and cilantro. Cook for 10 minutes.

Step 3Add the tomato juice, stock and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer 15 minutes.

Step 4Remove from the heat and, using a blending wand or blender, puree the mixture, in batches if necessary, until smooth. Strain the mixture through a sieve, pressing on the solids; discard the solids.

Step 5Return the soup to the cleaned pan and add salt, white pepper and ground chile. Rewarm the soup; if it seems too thick, stir in additional stock or water. Garnish with fried tortilla strips and sour cream.

Note: From Cafe Verde in Pasadena. Look for ground dried ancho chiles (sometimes labeled pasillo) in the spice section of selected markets, especially Latino markets.




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