The Guajillo (wha-hee-oh) chile is the most common dried chile in Mexico after the Ancho. The flavor of the Guajillo is distinct, slightly fruity with a strong piney, berry under taste. Guajillo flavors dished easily so a little goes a long way. This chile is between a 2-4 on the heat scale of 1-10. Guajillo, combined with the Passilla and Ancho, form the holy trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces.
Yields 6-8 Servings
- 2 large, dried guajillo chilies
- 2 large, dried ancho chilies
- 1/2 white onion
- 1 lb ripe tomatoes (preferably plum)
- 6 cloves garlic
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 1 to 2 cups peanut or vegetable oil (for deep-frying)
- 10 to 12 white corn tortillas (5 to 6 inches)
- 2 cups cooked chicken (either 2 breasts, or 1/2 roasted chicken)
- 2 to 3 ears fresh white corn (or 1 1/2 cups frozen)
- 1/2 white onion (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 to 2 serrano peppers
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- 1 to 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp kosher salt (to taste)
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- 2 ripe tomatoes
- 1 fresh lime
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 2 Avocados
- 1 cup Mexican crema
- Remove seeds and stems from chilies.(1) Place the chilies into a bowl and cover with hot water. Let soak for about 20 minutes.
- For added flavor and smokiness, toast the chilies before soaking. To do this, heat a dry cast iron pan to medium-high heat. Once hot place a few chilies in the pan and toast for a minute or two. As they cook press them into the pan, using tongs. Then proceed with de-stemming and soaking.
- Meanwhile, place the oven rack to 2 to 3 inches below the broiler of your oven. Then preheat the broiler, while you move onto the next step.
- To roast the vegetables, place them into a dry, cast-iron skillet or any other heavy-bottomed, oven-proof fry pan. Place under the broiler and let cook until they start to char a bit. Using tongs, turn occasionally until all sides are lightly charred, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Once done, remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Just be sure to place an oven mitt on the handle of the pan so you don’t forget and burn yourself.
- Drain the chilies (discard liquid) and place into a blender. Add the cooled, roasted vegetables and purée until smooth.
- Using a large, heavy-bottomed pot, add the stock and chili purée. Stir over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour over medium to medium-low heat.
- Meanwhile, fry the tortillas.
- Using a heavy-bottomed pot or pan, add enough oil to fill the bottom by about 1 to 2 inches. Turn the heat to medium and let heat to 375° degrees Fahrenheit.
- Meanwhile, cut half of the tortillas into thin strips, about 1/4″ -inch wide. Set aside.
- Cut the remaining tortillas into quarters and fry in a few batches. Cook for about 1 minute, turning occasionally, until light-golden and crispy.
- Remove the quartered tortillas from the oil using a slotted spoon or tongs. Place onto paper towels and let drain. Once cool, place the quartered and fried tortillas into a plastic bag and crush them with your hands or use a rolling pin. Add the crushed chips to the soup.
- For the tortilla strips, also fry them in batches and drain on paper towels. For added flavor, season the strips with creole seasoning (2) while they are still hot. (3) Set aside to garnish the soup later.
- Shred the chicken into pieces and add to the soup. The chicken is optional, but it adds nice texture and makes the soup more like a meal.
- Remove the corn from the ear and add to soup. Frozen or canned corn can easily be substituted, but fresh corn just adds that extra touch.
- To make the salsa, finely dice the onions and add to a bowl. Then finely mince the serrano peppers, using gloves. (1)
- Roughly chop the cilantro and add to the onion and serrano mixture. Squeeze the lime into the salsa and add the seasonings. Mix to combine and set aside.
- Dice the tomato into 1/2″ -inch cubes, place into a bowl and set aside.
- Cut the whole lime into fancy citrus wedges and set aside.
- To finish the soup, check for seasoning and adjust as needed.
- Set yourself up for serving the soup. Place the tortilla strips into a bowl. Gather the tomatoes and salsa and set aside.
- Just before you are ready to serve, cut the avocados and add a few tablespoons to each serving bowl (or you can add the avocado directly to the salsa; just mix gently to combine).
- To serve the soup, place a few tablespoons of tomato into each bowl, along with a tablespoon of the onion salsa. Top with a small handful of tortilla strips (or you can place them on last as a garnish).
- Ladle in some soup and top with Mexican crema. Serve each bowl with a wedge of lime, to squeeze in and enjoy!