Cast Iron

Build Your Own Tortilla Soup

November 27, 2010
3 Ratings
Author Notes

We host open house parties a few times a year. Each time, I want one dish that really stands out. This tortilla soup is a perfect party food. People gather to personalize their bowl of steaming goodness - some want spice, some want crunch. Make it ahead. Put out lots of garnishes. And watch the guests swoon. - MrsWheelbarrow —MrsWheelbarrow

Test Kitchen Notes

An absolutely delicious and fun way to use leftover turkey or chicken and its broth -- season it with a variety of toasted peppers, coriander seeds, tomatoes, onions and garlic, then have an open house party to share it. This soup will be the star attraction on your buffet table as it simmers in its pot amongst an array of garnishes, which include fresh homemade tortilla strips. The aromas, all the smells loved best in Mexican cooking, capture a festive spirit while guests gather to build their own soup bowl. Awesome recipe and party fare! —lapadia

  • Serves many
  • 1 pasilla chile, dried
  • 1 guajillo chile, dried
  • 1 chipotle chile, dried
  • 2 arbol chiles, dried (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4 medium onions, quartered
  • 8 roma tomatoes or 1 qt canned, crushed tomatoes
  • 6 quarts rich chicken or turkey stock
  • 2 bottles dark beer (I use Negra Modelo)
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
  • 3-4 cups pinto beans (I use Rancho Gordo pinquitos), cooked
  • 2 cups whole corn kernels
  • 2 cups hominy, soaked and cooked
  • 3-4 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken or turkey meat
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons fresh epazote (optional)
  • 6 avocados, cubed (garnish)
  • 2 cups chopped cilantro (garnish)
  • 2 cups Queso fresco, crumbled (garnish)
  • 2 cups chopped scallion (garnish)
  • 12 corn tortillas cut in strips and fried (garnish)
  • 4 ancho chiles, toasted and cut in strips (garnish)
  • Various hot sauces (garnish)
In This Recipe
  1. On a hot, dry comal, griddle or cast iron skillet, briefly toast the chiles. Be cautious - they can burn very easily. You just want to warm them until they are pliable. Split the chiles open and remove the seeds and stem. Add to your blender.
  2. Toast the coriander seeds until fragrant, add to the blender.
  3. Toast and slightly blacken the tomatoes, onions and garlic cloves, then add those to the blender. If using canned tomatoes, add those to the blender directly.
  4. Whiz up all these ingredients to make a slurry. Heat the oil in the bottom of a large stock pot. Add the blender ingredients and cook for 5-10 minutes, until reduced slightly and starting to smell extra wonderful.
  5. Add the stock, beer and oregano and simmer for an hour, until the flavors have melded.
  6. Add the beans, corn and hominy and cook for about half an hour. Taste and correct the seasoning.
  7. Add the chicken, cilantro and epazote and warm through. Serve hot from a crock pot or a pot simmering on the stove. Have all the garnishes nearby. Watch your guests swoon.
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