Chicken Tortilla Soup

Total Time: ~1hr | Yield: ~8 cups


  • Frying pan
  • Stock Pot
  • Food processor, Immersion blender, blender, or mortar & pestle
  • A sharp knife 🙂


  • 1 large dried pasilla chili/chilli/chile, stemmed and seeded
  • 1, 32 oz can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 2 quarts chicken broth (or bone broth)
  • 1-2 T dried epazote (depending on freshness)
  • 2 C shredded, cooked chicken (breast is low-fat, but thigh has more flavor)
  • Garnishes
    • 1 large ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
    • 1 ½ cups (6 ounces) shredded Mexican melting cheese
      • Chihuahua, Quesadilla or Asadero
      • If you can’t find those: Monterey Jack, Mild Cheddar
    • 4 cups of ribbon-cut and fried corn tortillas
    • 1/2 cup Mexican Crema, sour cream or creme fraîche for garnish
    • 1 lime cut lengthwise into wedges


  1. Toast chili by holding it an inch or two above an open flame until aromatic
    • If you don’t have a gas stove, toast it in a dry pan over medium heat, pressing it flat with a spatula for a few seconds, then flipping it over and flatten again.)
  2. Roughly chop the chili put in a food processor with the tomatoes (and juice).
    • If you want the chili completely pureed, grind it in a mortar & pestle (aka: molcajete)
  3. Heat the oil in the sauce pan over medium-high.
  4. Add the onion and sauté until golden, then add garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  5. Turn off the heat, and scoop up the onion and garlic with a slotted spoon, pressing them against the side of the pan to drain, and transfer to the processor. Process until smooth.
  6. Return the pan to medium-high heat. When hot, add the puree and sauté until thickened to a paste.
  7. Add the broth, epazote, and reduce the heat to med-low then simmer for 15 minutes.
  8. Taste and correct with salt.
  9. Just before serving, add the chicken to the simmering broth and warm through.


  1. Set serving bowls on small plates.
  2. Divide the avocado, cheese, lime wedges and tortillas between serving bowl-plates.
  3. Garnish a-la-minute with Crema


  • Epazote (pronounced: eh-pah-ZOH-teh and usually found in Latin food section) can be substituted with cilantro, but it is not the same. I recommend taking the time to source it. It makes the dish.
  • Pasilla (aka chile negro) chilis are usually found dried in the Latin food section. I encourage anyone exploring Latin cuisine to learn more about the various chilis (and other ingredients) they use. There is a whole world of complexity and depth to be found in Mexican (and other Latin) cuisine.

[Based on Recipe Sourced From: RickBayless.COM]

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