Aztec Soup (Sopa Azteca)
This Mexican chile pepper is called “Chilaca” when used fresh. In California the Poblano chile is often called Pasilla. Since most of these are bought and distributed from California this mislabeling often carries over into the supermarkets nationwide causing alot of confusion. This chile is very mild and is usually consumed in the dry form to make the famous Mexican ‘mole’ sauces.
7 red tomatoes
2 peeled garlic cloves
8 cups chicken stock
2 Tbsp. oil
4 avocado leaves, roasted
2 chiles Pasilla Mexicano
1 chile Pasilla Mexicano, cut into 12 thin rings
10 (day-old ) corn tortillas
1/2 cup oil for frying
1/2 cubed avocado
1 cup cubed Oaxacan cheese
To prepare the soup:
Roast the tomatoes on each side (about 3-4 minutes) until the skin is blackened, then peel the skin off. Roast the garlic, onion, 2 chiles pasillas Mexicanos and avocado leaves in medium-sized pan over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Put all of these into a blender and adding 1/2 cup of water, blend to make a puree.
Heat the oil in a medium sized pot. Strain the pureed mixture and add to hot pan, then boil for about 5 minutes. The puree will thicken and change to a deep red color.
Add the chicken stock and salt to taste, then cook for 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring only occasionally.
To prepare the Garnish (prepare before soup):
Cut the tortillas into julienned strips and set aside. Heat the oil over high heat in a large frying pan, and when the oil is hot, add the tortilla strips and fry to light golden brown, making sure the strips don’t stick together. When strips are golden, remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and allow them to drain on absorbent paper towels.
Roast the ringed pasilla Mexicano chiles in a clean pan.
Place a bit of the fried tortilla strips, cubed avocados, cubed Oaxacan cheese and roasted chile rings in each bowl and pour the prepared Aztec soup over the top. Serve while the soup is hot.
Recipe by Pilar Cabrera, Restaurant La Olla, Oaxaca México.
Yields 6 servings.