This classic Mexican soup is fragrant with lime, comino and oregano, with just enough heat from chile powder. This is one of the first recipes that I posted on my blog. I’ve updated it to the way it has evolved in the last 10 years.
You could make a vegan version of this recipe by using vegetable broth.
I make my own Tortillas de maíz hechas a mano – Homemade corn tortillas from fresh masa from the local Mexican market or with dry masa. They will literally melt into the soup. When I’m not up to that I buy preservative-free tortillas made in East Oakland: (from La Finca or La Mexicana) in Mexican markets in the East Bay, or at La Palma in San Francisco.
You can roast the tomatoes ahead of time and make tinga de pollo or season the chicken ahead of time.
Serves 3 for dinner with a warm tortilla in the soup.
1 ½ quarts (6 cups) homemade chicken bone broth. See Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup (plus a vegan version) (ok, buy it boxed or canned it you don’t have homemade.)
1 corn tortilla (homemade is best) for the soup, plus 3 tortillas to serve in the soup.
14 oz can roasted tomatoes or 5 fresh Roma tomatoes and olive oil spray
2 Tb olive oil, divided
1/2 onion plus 2 Tb onion for chicken and 2 Tb for garnish
3 cloves garlic
2 large stalks celery, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 tsp. cumin (comino in Spanish) divided between chicken and soup
2 tsp dried oregano, divided between chicken and soup
1/2 to 1 tsp ancho chile powder (to taste) Remember a little goes a long way!
1/2 teaspoon salt to taste
½ roasted chicken breast shredded (tinga de pollo is an excellent addition and will add extra flavor)
2-3 teaspoons salsa
1 lime, juiced
Garnish with any of the above:
Several sprigs of fresh cilantro for each bowl if desired
2 – 3 tsp dried oregano
A tablespoon of minced raw onion for each bowl
1-2 Tb Monterey Jack cheese for each bowl
1 small to medium avocado sliced
If roasting your own tomatoes: Preheat oven to 300′ Halve tomatoes and place cut side up on a foil-lined pan. Spray with olive oil spray and bake for 1 hour. Remove the stems and skins from tomatoes and onion, then pulse them in a food processor. You can do this step ahead of time.
Heat 1 Tb olive oil in a large pot. add onions, celery and carrots and saute until onions soften. Add broth and bring to boil, then stir in tomatoes, cumin, chili powder and salt to taste.
Shred chicken breast. If not using tinga de pollo, prepare the chicken as follows: In a separate pan, heat 1 Tb olive oil and add onions and saute until soft. Add chicken and mix in 1 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon comino and 2 Tb salsa. (You can do this part ahead of time.)
Heat tortilla on a comal or heavy frying pan until soft. You can alternatively microwave it for 30 seconds.
Ladle 2 cups of broth into a blender (try not to include the vegetables). Tear up the tortilla and add it to the blender. Blend on high until tortilla has crumbled into the broth. Pour back into the soup pot and mix thoroughly.
Stir in the cooked breast. Heat soup to hot. Juice the lime into the soup.
Pour soup into bowls. Roll a freshly warmed tortilla and put it in the bowl. Add avocado slices, sprinkle dried oregano, raw chopped onions, and cilantro as desired. Crumble cheese on top. ¡Disfrùtela!