Traditional, almost vegan, Sopa Azteca (Tortilla Soup)

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One of my resolutions for 2018 is to start blogging again – I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since my last entry!  And while I haven’t been writing about food, I sure have been cooking and have gathered some great recipes in this past year to share.

I recently moved with my family to San Antonio and am blown away by all the great Mexican food here.  Like New York City has its endless Italian food options, San Antonio has enough good Mexican food to keep you eating for years.  With this as inspiration, one of the dishes I made for our New Year’s Eve dinner was Sopa Azteca, or Tortilla Soup.  Traditional Mexican Tortilla Soup (don’t even think about using store-bought tortilla chips!) hits the spot like no other, and I’ve made this almost vegan by replacing Mexican crema with cashew crema.

I didn’t leave out the cheese (just couldn’t do it), but if you want to make this 100% vegan, simply replace the cheese with a vegan version or leave it out and feel free to double up on the cashew crema (or triple up, I won’t tell anybody).  And don’t get intimidated by the fried chiles, it is really not that complicated to do this and you can find chiles at most major grocery stores these days (check out a video on how to fry them, here).  In San Antonio, HEB always has them.  You could also probably find them in Whole Foods, or a local latin market.

This is the real deal Tortilla Soup, like it’s made in Mexico City (with some healthy modifications, such as baking the tortilla strips vs. frying them and no Mexican crema), and I guarantee you are going to love it.  You may want to even double the recipe when you make it as you are most definitely going to want this the next day…and probably the one after that.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 small white onion
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (or six cups water with 1-2 veggie bouillon cubes)
  • 1/2 to 1 chipotle en adobo (optional)
  • Queso panela (or mozarella) or queso fresco, cut up into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 avocados, cut into cubes
  • Cashew crema
  • About 6-8 dried guajillo chiles (or pretty much any dried chiles will work), thinly sliced
  • About 12 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips, about 1/2 by two inches
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Cashew Crema:

You can make this ahead of time.  See directions here.

Tortilla strips:

Heat to oven to 400°.  Cut tortillas into thin strips.  Lightly spray with canola or coconut oil and bake for about 12 minutes, until lightly browned and crispy.

Onto the chiles:

Cut off the stems of each chile and thinly slice, about 1/4 inch thick.  Don’t worry about the seeds, most of them will fall out as you slice them, but if some stick to the chiles that’s okay.  They can be tough to slice sometimes so use your sharpest knife.  Set aside in a bowl.  Heat about 1/2 – 1 cup of canola or avocado oil (or any high-heat oil) in a small skillet over high heat.  Use however much it takes to get about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of oil.  Once the oil is hot, add the sliced chiles, stir them around, and after a couple seconds, take out with a slotted spoon and set on a plate with paper towels.  See a video on how to do it here.

Now to the soup:

Blend the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and chipotle en adobo (if using) with vegetable broth at high speed until completely liquified (I have a Vitamix and I blend for about a minute).  Place blended broth into a sauce pan and heat over medium high heat until boiling, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Put it all together:

Ladle broth into bowls.  Add tortilla strips, queso, dried chiles, avocado slices and drizzle with crema.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

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