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Author Notes: A tangy, vibrant tomatillo soup made with rich homemade chicken stock, roasted tomatillos and peppers, and crispy fried tortilla strips. —Elizabeth Stark
For the chicken stock:
- 5 pounds chicken drumsticks
- sea salt
- 3 tablespoons heat-tolerant oil like grapeseed, divided
- 2 medium-sized yellow onions, peeled and quartered
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 4 carrots, peeled and rough chopped
- 4 celery stalks, rough chopped
- 1 bunch parsley stems (if you have them)
- 2 bay leaves (fresh, if possible)
- 10 peppercorns
- 4 quarts water
- Preheat oven to 425° F.
- Sprinkle chicken legs all over with sea salt. Drizzle 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil in a roasting pan and arrange chicken legs on top. Roast chicken for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted parallel to the bone reads 165° F. (Check chicken for doneness at the 20-minute mark.)
- Reserve 1 pound cooked chicken for the soup: Cover and put in the fridge until needed. Set roasting pan aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, set a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, and then onions. Sauté until soft, 7 minutes or so, then add all remaining ingredients but the water. Continue to sauté, stirring often, until vegetables soften and wilt, about 10 minutes.
- Add roasted drumsticks, scraping any accumulated juices or brown bits in as well. Add the water. Bring mixture to a boil, then turn heat to medium-low (enough heat to produce a gently bubbling simmer). Add sea salt sparingly—just enough to bring out flavors. Cook until chicken meat falls off the bone, 2 to 3 hours.
- Using a fine mesh strainer, strain mixture into jars. Set aside to cool, then seal and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Stock can also be frozen for up to 6 months.
For the tomatillo tortilla soup:
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 quart tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed well
- 1 yellow onion, trimmed, peeled, and quartered
- 2 Cubanelle peppers (or Anaheim)
- 2 poblano peppers
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- 1 serrano pepper
- 4 cups chicken stock
- sea salt
- 6 corn tortillas, cut into strips
- neutral, heat-tolerant oil for frying tortillas
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1/4 cup crema (Mexican sour cream)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
- crumbled cotija cheese (optional)
- Set broiler to high.
- Trim woody base from garlic cloves, then lightly smash with the side of a knife. Leave papery skin intact.
- Arrange garlic, tomatillos, onion, and peppers on a rimmed baking sheet. Set under the broiler. Check every few minutes. Use tongs to set any tomatillos that have burst in a bowl, turn the peppers, and grab any garlic that's starting to blacken. Continue until all the vegetables have roasted nicely, 10 to 15 minutes total.
- Set pan aside to cool. Under cold running water, remove the skin, stems, and seeds from the peppers.
- Place all of the roasted vegetables in the pitcher of a blender (you may need to do this in two batches), add 2 cups chicken stock, and pulse until mixture is well blended, but still has a bit of texture. (Use caution if mixture is hot.)
- Pour into a sturdy pot and set over medium-low heat. Add 2 cups remaining chicken stock, stir, and then add sea salt to taste.
- Pull chicken meat from reserved roasted drumsticks, set in a small dish, and warm in the oven.
- Meanwhile, set out a deep-frying pan and pour in neutral oil to 1-inch depth. Set over medium/medium-high heat. Fry tortilla strips until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes. Set cooked strips on a stack of paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt. (You can also skip the frying and use high-quality tortilla chips instead—but be mindful that store-bought chips can be very salty.)
- Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with tortilla strips (or chips), chicken, avocado slices, a drizzle of crema, cilantro, and cotija. Serve soup with a lime wedge.
- This recipe is a Community Pick!