sopa azteca

Sopa Azteca -- My Monday Night Version

I apparently make good “chili” because Nick would always ask for that on special occasion- weirdo. And when I ask my mother what she wants for dinner, it’s chili or a Spanish Tortilla. And I am bored of both those. So tonight I told her we were going to the Mexican grocery store for supplies and I was going to make a Sopa Azteca– Aztec soup… No hearts or brains in this one.

So this is for that sweet person who made me a scarf and is curious to try new things to cook… Here we go.

[P.S.– I’ve never made this, but how can it go wrong, right?]


2 guajillo chiles
½ cup hot water
2 tomatillos, husked and washed
2 Roma tomatoes
½ small white onion
1 clove garlic
Chicken– about 1 pound [I use thighs]
2 tsp salt
5 cups broth [from chicken you cooked]
¼ cup cilantro leaves

For Garnish:


As with most Mexican soups–
start by tossing a few chicken thighs in water with half an onion, a garlic clove and a carrot, maybe celery if you have it. [Use chicken bone-in and with skin; tonight I only had boneless, skinless thighs, so the broth is a bit weak]
Cook till chicken is done, and take it out to let it cool.
Strain broth reserving the liquid, toss the veggies
Once chicken is cool enough to touch, shred it, we call this, “desmembrar el pollo”

If you have a cast iron skillet [or a ‘comal,’ or large griddle] use this for the chiles and the tomatillos. If not, line a pan with foil and toast them.

Toast the guajillo chiles pressing them down till soft and blistered
When cool to touch, remove stems and seeds and tear up [and don’t touch your eyes or nose after, like I just did]
Soak in ½ cup hot water

Husk and wash the tomatillos [I’m telling you now, they’re sticky little fuckers]
Roast tomatillos on high until charred in spots and softened

In a blender, put in the:
Chile & its liquid
Tomatillos [cut the stems off]
2 tomatoes
½ small Onion and
1 large garlic

Purée till smooth
[I just used an immersion blender and got it all over my arm, but it’s so much easier than our damn blender that I fight with each time I use it.]

In large Dutch over [or pot] combine the purée, chopped chicken or “desmembrado,” strained broth, a bunch of cilantro tied in a bundle and cook for a bit more, maybe ½ an hour? Add water if you need to.

Meanwhile, slice tortillas ¼ inch thin, fry until crisp and drain on paper towels. [Tip: I now take my cast iron skillet out to the grill for stinky stuff like this or the whole house smells like a taqueria. And since it’s 35 degrees out there right now, I’m happy to do so. When it’s 101, not so much]

Once everything is ready, to serve, place tortilla strips in the bottom of the bowl with some crumbled queso fresco, ladle soup over and garnish with chunks of avocado and lime.

Buen provecho!