Cast Iron

Build Your Own Tortilla Soup

November 27, 2010
3 Ratings
  • Serves Many
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

What You'll Need
  • 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)
  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.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • healthierkitchen
  • Waverly
  • lapadia
  • Pat E. in SLO
    Pat E. in SLO
  • monkeymom
My new book, PIE SQUARED. Irresistibly Easy Sweet & Savory Slab Pies is available for preorder and on shelves October, 2018.

23 Reviews

healthierkitchen December 30, 2010
Finally made this right before Christmas and it was a big success! I can see how this serves a party, as I did a half recipe and froze some of the basic soup and then still served 6. Delicious!
Waverly December 16, 2010
A wonderful party dish indeed. I love this idea and your recipe. Congrats on being an editors' pick.
spicecat December 11, 2010
Yum. Sounds so good on a cold afternoon...
lapadia December 11, 2010
Hi MrsWheelbarrow! I am testing this recipe for your Editors’ Pick; using the last of my Thanksgiving turkey stock & turkey (vacuum sealed in the freezer)…so excited to try it!
MrsWheelbarrow December 11, 2010
That's how this recipe came about - leftover everything. Hope you enjoy the soup. Wish you were closer - I'd love a bowl RIGHT NOW.
Pat E. December 3, 2010
I do this soup...or close to it...every year for Xmas open house. I cut the tortillas with a Xmas tree shape cookie cutter before I fry them. It's pretty cute... and the tortilla scraps can be ground up in your blender and used to thicken the soup just a little bit. I actually don't put the chicken, corn, or beans in the broth. They are in bowls just like the garnishes. Everyone puts what they want in their soup bowl and pours the hot broth over the top....making it as light or as hearty as you want it to be. Just another idea for this great recipe.
MrsWheelbarrow December 3, 2010
Pat - I LOVE your suggestions! The cookie cutter is just brilliant. Thank you so much.
monkeymom November 30, 2010
yum MrsW! I just posted a pozole recipe that also has crunchy fixings! Love this!
MrsWheelbarrow December 3, 2010
Your recipe looks great, monkeymom. Fun!
healthierkitchen November 28, 2010
Excellent - now I know what to do with that hominy I bought! And all the dried peppers from a mole I made. In fact, I think I have everything on the main ingredient list. Yum!
MrsWheelbarrow November 28, 2010
Can I come over?
MrsWheelbarrow November 28, 2010
Can I come over?
healthierkitchen November 29, 2010
Of course!! btw, is the two cups hominy the post cooking measurement? I'm planning to make the whole package at once. Thanks.
MrsWheelbarrow November 29, 2010
Yes, it's the post-cooking measurement.
lastnightsdinner November 28, 2010
Mmmm, this sounds like perfect party fare. I have some cooked Rancho Gordo hominy in the freezer, and it's just begging to be used in this dish.
MrsWheelbarrow November 28, 2010
I think it was the cooked Rancho Gordo hominy in *my* freezer that started this tradition.
drbabs November 28, 2010
Perfect party food! I love it when you can personalize your food!
MrsWheelbarrow November 28, 2010
Me too! I'm always concerned about picky eaters.
lapadia November 27, 2010
Excellent, MrsWheelbarrow!!! Thanks for sharing your always brillant ideas...
MrsWheelbarrow November 27, 2010
Thank you, Lapadia!
MyCommunalTable November 27, 2010
I just love the idea of having this at a open house. I could smell it as I was reading about it. Have you ever used frozen hominy?
MrsWheelbarrow November 27, 2010
I've never seen frozen hominy! If you try it, let me know how it works?
MyCommunalTable November 28, 2010
I shop at this great Mexican grocery store most of the time. Really good produce, etc. They have hominy frozen or in a can. I actually wander in the frozen section a great deal, because there is stuff there I have never seen before and am always trying to figure out how to use them. The array of exotic fruit purees astonishes me everytime.