On the Menu: Sopa Azteca, or Sopa de Tortilla

Fall is upon us and, with this, comes the cravings of delicious warm soups. This time we are thrilled to highlight a favorite of ours that is not entirely reserved for fall as, the same as our mamás, we enjoy it all year round: Authentic Sopa Azteca, or Sopa de Tortilla!

Got 20 minutes? This is one of the easiest and most versatile Mexican recipes there are. Sopa Azteca is a soup representative of the center part of Mexico where it is also called Sopa de Tortilla depending on the place you find yourself in (if you have both on a menu the Sopa de Tortilla will only have caldo and tortillas, nothing else). This soup is so popular that you will find it both in households and restaurants throughout Mexico, and it is also served in small fondas as it is served in higher-end restaurants. We grew up with this soup being served all year round and the variations that it presents allows for every soup to taste differently, making it one of the tastiest and most loved dishes we can think of. 

The base of this soup consists of fried tortillas in a soup made up of chicken broth, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and what makes this unique: epazote. Epazote (pronounced eh-pah-zoh-teh) is an aromatic herb commonly used in the cuisines and traditional medicines of central and southern Mexico. Given that this plant has a strong taste and aroma (so not everyone takes to it right away) it adds a tasty rustic layer of flavor to many dishes of Mexican cuisine.

To this base there are many other ingredients that can be added such as cheese, avocado, fried chile strips, Mexican cream, corn, Poblano peppers, bacon, chicharron, and so on. This is why when ordering this soup in Mexican restaurants, it is quite common to receive only caldo and tortillas with all garnishes on the side so that this soup is as personalized as desired. You might want to try this as an option at home, convincing future chefs or picky-eaters to eat their soup. So, are you ready to try this recipe with us?

Sopa Azteca Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 5 tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ¾ onion
  • ½ chile ancho (canned chipotle can also be used if ancho is not around, use ½ a chile here as well) 
  • 1 Large chicken breast, boneless and skinless
  • 1 branch of epazote herb
  • 5 tortillas
  • frying oil

To serve/garnish:

  • Diced Avocado
  • Queso fresco, oaxaca, or panela
  • Mexican crema
  • Lime

Start by boiling the chicken breast with a pinch of salt, one garlic clove and a small piece of onion (approximately ⅛ of an onion) for flavor. Reserve broth and shred chicken once cool.

While the chicken is boiling, cut the tortillas by stacking them into thin strips of approximately ¼ inch. Then proceed to fry the strips until you achieve a golden crisp. 

To make the caldo, slightly roast tomatoes, and remaining garlic and onion and then add them to the blender together with chile ancho and ¼ of a tortilla, which adds flavor and texture. Make this more liquid with the remaining chicken broth, adding 1 cup at a time until you achieve your desired consistency. Then, strain and transfer to a pot, adding a branch of epazote and salt and pepper to taste. You can add another cup of chicken broth in this step, too, just make sure you don’t add more than 4 cups total as it might lose flavor. Boil for approximately 20 minutes so that all flavors are incorporated into the caldo.

Place a small quantity of shredded chicken, fried tortilla strips, and queso fresco in a bowl, then add caldo. Garnish with cubed avocado, Mexican crema, and a leaf of fresh epazote for decoration. Add lime to taste and enjoy!

Other tips:

  • Epazote can be somewhat of an acquired taste because of its strong taste and aroma, so not everyone takes to it right away. If you have never tasted it, start with a very small quantity and add as you get used to it and if you like it. If you dislike it, it is perfectly fine not to add. While it is best to use fresh epazote, the dried form can be used if no fresh herbs are available.
  • We recommend frying tortillas little by little, and, when removing them from the oil, place them in a deep dish with paper napkins so that the oil is absorbed. If you would like a healthier alternative to this option, you can always bake the tortillas at 350° for 12-15 minutes, rotating them halfway through. 
  • Remember that the chile is only to add flavor, even if you are tolerant to high levels of spiciness, start with small quantities and add as you go.
  • You can always make this recipe your own. If you want a vegan option, you can use vegetable broth. If you like the taste of other cheeses, you can always try them; we personally love shredded Oaxaca. 
  • If you would like to make your tortillas from scratch, don’t forget to check out our tortilla recipe here!

We love this recipe as it brings us back memories from Mexico and, whenever we see this dish available at a restaurant, we make sure to order it! We are also happy that this is an easy quick meal if you make ingredients ahead of time. For example, shredded chicken can later be used for enchiladas, enfrijoladas, tostadas, flautas, tinga and many more dishes. The leftover caldo can be used in these same flautas, tostadas, or other soups. So we always make sure to double our portions to later make variations of these mentioned dishes.

So, what do you think? Is this a recipe you will be trying soon? Is there any other recipe you would like for us to share with you all?Let us know, we would love to hear from you! 


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1 comment

Faye Krygsheld

Faye Krygsheld

I love sopa Azteca! I had the best on all my trips to Oaxaca. Gracias por la receta. Voy a prepararla muy pronto.

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