Ancho Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ancho (Ahn-cho) Chile (Capsicum Annum) means Wide Chile Pepper. This chile ranges from 3 – 4 on a heat scale of 1 to 10. An Ancho is the dried form of a Poblano Pepper and often is mislabeled as a Pasilla or Mulato Pepper. Anchos have sweet fruity flavor with hints of cherry, prune, and fig. Anchos, combined with the Pasilla and Guajillo, form the Holy Trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces. Scoville heat units are 1,000 to 3,000.

Suggested Use:
Anchos are great in salsa, soups, enchilada and any sauce needing mild heat and chile flavor. Chopped, pureed or ground, they can be added directly to your recipes.

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Chile Purée:
2 dried ancho chiles, seeded and roughly chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 split chicken breasts, with skin and bone
4 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 lime, juiced
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Tortilla strips, for garnish


Yield Serves 6

Chile Purée:
Combine the chiles, tomatoes, onion, garlic, chicken broth, vinegar, cumin, salt, and pepper in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover the pan, and let the chiles steep in the liquid for 15 minutes. Transfer the chiles and liquid to a blender and blend until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the chicken breasts on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Remove the skin from the chicken breasts and, using two forks, shred into bite-size pieces.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the chile purée, cilantro, sugar, oregano, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes and chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the soup has thickened slightly. Stir in the shredded chicken and lime juice.

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each with the sour cream, shredded cheese, and tortilla strips.

You can make your own tortilla strips! Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut corn tortillas into very thin strips and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet. Spray generously with nonstick cooking spray and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.