Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Soup for You

Fully recuperated from last week’s soiree, I am now on a rare-for-me village trip, with dh and the kids, which is about eight hours from home. Next week maybe I will have some inspiring, hopefully not embarrassing, or drama-filled, yarn to spin, but for now I simply leave you a taste of Mexico.
Can you get real Mexican food where you live? If not, I honestly pity you. How can anyone live without an occasional Tex-Mex dish? This recipe may not work for you until your next furlough, unless you can figure out where to buy or how to make your own corn tortillas. Sorry about that.
It works fine with a regular blender, but I have to say that I am blessed with a Vitamix, which is my absolute best-loved appliance in the house. I use it at least once a day for grinding wheat, oats, and other grains for flour, and also for green smoothies, creamed soups, or any other chopped or pureed dishes. (Did I ever mention that I am somewhat of a health food junkie? – Not in the pathological/need-help-now kind of way, but just a wish-I-could-eat-better/cut-out-the-junk-food kind of way.)
Without further ado, then, here’s one of my favorite recipes. Enjoy!

Jamie Jo’s Sopa Azteca (Tortilla Soup)
Adapted from a recipe used at The Mansion on Turtle Creek, a Dallas Mexican restaurant
(Quadruple the recipe to feed 25 people. Believe me, I’ve done it!)

For the broth:
3 T. corn oil
1 Cup onions, pureed
2 Cups fresh tomatoes, pureed
1 T. cumin powder
1 t. chili powder
1 bay leaf
½ branch epazote (this is literally a weed that grows wild in my garden, but maybe you can find it where you live, especially if you are in Latin America)
2 quarts chicken stock
2 T. tomato puree
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

1 cooked chicken breast, cooled and cut into strips (two whole chickens for a big crowd)
1 avocado, peeled and cubed
3 oz. grated cheddar cheese (or Oaxaca cheese, if you have it!)
3 or more corn tortillas, cut into thin strips and fried
Sour cream
In a soup pot, heat the corn oil and sauté tortillas with garlic and epazote. Add onions and fresh pureed tomatoes; bring to a boil. Add cumin, tomato puree, bay leaf, chili powder, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil again. Add salt and cayenne pepper to taste and cook for ½ hour. Strain to remove all large particles. Sometimes I remove the epazote and run the broth through the blender, adding a few more tortillas that have been soaked in broth, to thicken it and give it more tortilla flavor.
Either put soup in bowls and serve garnishes on the side (for company – which dirties a lot more dishes), or just put the tortilla strips and garnishes in the bowls, and serve the soup on top of them like we do for our family. Serves 6-8.
IRL*While the soup simmers for you, I’ll be showing the Jesus film to a group who has never seen a single movie in their own language.


  1. I love Mexican food. My stepfather is Mexican and I learned to appreciate the food from my abuela and tias. Plus I lived on the border for awhile. The joke when we moved to Asia was that there were several mexican restaurants where there had been none in Europe where we previously lived so that was the tipping factor in our choice. Ha, ha!

    Now that we are back in the US for extended HMA I hunt down all the places that have street tacos (al pastor are my favs). Thanks for the soup recipe. I may wait till it is cooler though!

    Have fun showing the movie. One summer I helped with outreaches to migrant workers in Baja and saw the Jesus film in several different dialects. People loved watching the movie.

  2. Haha. When I'm chilly, I make the children put on a sweater. When I'm not hungry, I think they shouldn't need a snack. Now that it's cold here, I guess I figured everyone would want some hot soup!

    Tacos al pastor. Yum!

    We may have dubbed some of the Jesus films you showed up there. Many of the migrant workers are from Oaxaca. In fact, we went to Culiacan a couple of times to work with outreaches there doing the same thing.

  3. Can I get Mexican food where I live? Yes! and even in Cambodia we found the best little Mexican restaurant. Here is my lunch!

  4. I grew up in El Paso, 10 minutes from the border, so I really miss Mexican food here in Turkey, but do manage to make some ALMOST Mexican dishes. For example I'm going to make this Sopa Azteca tonight, but instead of tortillas, we will be using Doritos!!! It's the best I can do.

    Thanks for the recipe. Blessings on your village trip.

  5. So how did the soup turn out, Olive? Powerorchid (or Power Child, as my dyslexic mind wants to read it), your salad looked spectacular. I am very happy for you. Google was acting up, and I couldn't leave a message on your blog, though I tried.

  6. This is not a current recipe, but I wanted to give due credit since I did not create it myself. My mom got the original recipe from The Mansion many years ago, and the waiter told her the trick about soaking the tortillas to thicken the broth. It might have been 20 years ago by now, so I'm sure the menu has changed since then.

    I've never eaten at The Mansion, and had wrongfully assumed it was a Mexican restaurant. Sorry for the misinformation.


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