Texas in Your Bowl, Smoky Tortilla Soup Recipe from Homesick Texan Cookbook

After sharing Lisa Fain sweet and spicy Habanero Pickled Peaches Recipe, here's a second helping from Homesick Texan Cookbook (Hyperion, September 2011).

Get a taste of Texas in your bowl for lunch or dinner.

Smoky Tortilla Soup Recipe

Tortilla soup is probably one of the most ubiquitous soups in Texas, and yet you’ll find that no two recipes are alike. I like to make mine smoky, which I achieve by adding chipotle chiles and smoked pa­prika. I also prefer my tortilla soup without additional chicken, as I find the combination of broth, chips, cheese, and avocados more than filling. Yet there are those who might question this, so feel free to serve it with shredded chicken if you like.


2 dried pasilla chiles, stems and seeds removed

½ cup plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

6 corn tortillas, preferably stale

1 pound plum tomatoes, or 1 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes, preferably fire roasted, drained

1 medium yellow onion, cut into quarters

6 cloves garlic

2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

½ cup chopped cilantro

6 cups chicken broth

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 tablespoons lime juice

Salt, to taste

2 cups cooked, shredded chicken meat (optional)


2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese (8 ounces)

1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced

¼ cup Cotija cheese, crumbled

¼ cup chopped cilantro

Tortilla-soup_DSC2276 (2)

1. In a dry skillet heated on high, toast the pasilla chiles on each side for about 10 seconds or just until they start to puff. Fill the skillet with enough water to cover chiles. Leave the heat on until the water begins to boil and then turn off the heat and let the chiles soak until soft, about 30 minutes.

2. Heat ½ cup of the vegetable oil in a large skillet on medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 350 degrees. Slice the tortillas into strips ¼ inch thick. Add tortilla strips to the hot oil and cook until crisp, about a minute. Drain tortillas on paper towels.

3. If using fresh tomatoes, cut in half and place on a greased sheet under the broiler, along with the onion quarters and garlic cloves. Cook the tomatoes, onions, and garlic on each side for 5 minutes or until black spots begin to appear. (If using canned tomatoes, broil only the onions and garlic.)

4. Place the tomatoes, onions, and garlic into a blender. When the pasilla chiles are hydrated, drain and rinse and also add to the blender along with the chipotle chiles, cumin, oregano, cloves, cilantro, ½ cup of the fried tortilla strips, and ½ cup of water. Blend on high until smooth.

5. In a large pot, heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil on medium heat and add the tomatoe puree. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until it thickens and gets darker. Note that it will probably pop and squirt.

6. Add the chicken broth and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

7. Stir in the smoked paprika, lime juice, salt to taste, and the chicken meat if you’re using it, and simmer for another 10 minutes.

8. Before serving the soup, place the remaining tortilla strips and grated Monterey Jack cheese into 4 or 6 bowls. Top with the soup and serve immediately. Serve with the avocado, Cotija cheese, and cilantro for garnish.

NOTE: If you can’t find pasilla chiles, you can add one more canned chipotle chile; you can substitute dried ancho chiles, as these tend to be more available; or you can use 1 tablespoon of chili powder.

(* From THE HOMESICK TEXAN COOKBOOK by Lisa Fain. Copyright © 2011 Lisa Fain. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.)

Previous Post

NY Night Views from 49th Floor of 7 World Trade Center, NY From the Air Book Party

Sep 20
Walking out of the subway station after taking E train to its last stop, World Trade Center, I realized it's been at least a couple of years since I visited this part of the city. The rising towers of the new World Trade Center and the crowds visiting the area due to recent opening of 9/11 Memorial make for an eerie mix. Being there brought a mix of emotions. Reason of my visit, I was...
Next Post

Travel Inspired Pastries, Gateaux de Voyage Event at Fete de la Gastronomie, Sept. 23

Sep 21
France marks the arrival of the Fall season with Fete de la Gastronomie. At last count 2000 events are scheduled all over France on September 23, 2011. Amongst these many events, I noted Gateaux de Voyage featuring pastries inspired by travel. From 3 pm to 5 pm at Palais des Congres in Paris (Level-Floor 0), you will be able to sample these creations for free courtesy of Confédération des Artisans Pâtissiers de France and Salon...