Sopa Azteca {Tortilla Soup}

Even after having lived in Mexico for 11 years, this Gringa still gets a little homesick for the U.S.  It happens mostly around the holidays.  Especially around the holidays that aren't celebrated in Mexico the same way as they are in the States.  Holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, and Cinco de Mayo.

I can't tell you how heartbroken I was to learn that there weren't any big fiestas here in Mexico with mariachis and margaritas for Cinco de Mayo.  Don't get me wrong, Cinco de Mayo is a national holiday.  It's just not celebrated with the same enthusiasm.

That's why I was happy to learn that this week on I Heart Cooking Clubs we're celebrating Cinco de Mayo!  Because I'm always looking for an excuse to celebrate a fun holiday.

And what better way to celebrate than with a festive Sopa Azteca (Tortilla Soup)?  A spicy, flavorful soup, with tender pieces of chicken,  topped with cool Mexican crema, cheese that melts the instant it touches the steaming red broth, creamy melt-in-your-mouth-like-butter pieces of the avocado, and crispy fried tortillas.  It's a fiesta any time this soup comes to the table!

Sopa Azteca (Tortilla Soup)
(Recipe adapted from


  • 2 lbs. bone-in chicken breast
  • Cilantro
  • 2 medium onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 dried ancho chilies
  • 4 large roma tomatoes, cut in wedges
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 cups chicken broth

  • 1 cup Mexican crema
  • 8 oz. shredded asadero cheese (or Chihuahua cheese)
  • 3 large avocadoes, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Fried (or baked) Tortilla Strips
  • Limes, cut in wedges

Place the bone-in chicken breasts in a 4-quart stockpot with 10 cups of water.  Add 1 of the medium onions, cut in half, 1 clove of garlic, and a couple of sprigs of fresh cilantro; season generously with salt and pepper.  Cover the stock pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the chicken is done cooking.  (About an hour.)  Let the chicken cool slightly.  Shred the chicken, or cut it into bite size pieces.

Once the chicken has finished cooking, toast the dried ancho chilies over an open flame for a few seconds on each side.  Soak the chilies in 1 cup of hot chicken broth or water.  Remove the stems and seeds from chilies, set aside.  Heat a comal, griddle or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Toast the tomatoes turn soft and black spots have started to form on the skin; set aside.

In a large 4-quart pot, heat the olive oil.  Slice the remaining medium onion into 1/4-inch slices.  Add the onions and garlic the pot and saute, stirring occasionally, until they just start to caramelize; remove from heat.

Transfer the onions, garlic, tomatoes, ancho chilies and the broth/water they were soaked in to a blender cup.  Puree until smooth.  Return the 4-quart pot to medium-high heat.  Carefully pour the puree into the pot.  Let the puree simmer until the color starts to darken and the sauce starts to thicken.  Stir in the remaining 7 cups of chicken broth and add the chicken.  (I used the broth the chicken was cooked in.)  Let simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes for the flavors to meld together.

Garnish with Mexican crema, shredded cheese, chopped avocado, and fried (or baked) tortilla strips.  Finish it off with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.  Enjoy!!!

IHCC theme: Cinco de Mayo



  1. that is the way to my heart! Looks fantastic.

  2. i always thought Cinco the Mayo is this big party in Mexico. What a shame they don't celebrate it as "grande" as on this side of the boarder.
    Comforting soup Leslie

  3. Such a hearty soup! Lovely colour too :D

  4. Wow Leslie, I think I like your version of this soup better than Ricks. So pure and clean. Looks amaxing. Have a great week-end.

  5. Great version of a wonderful, classic soup. And such appealing photos as well.

  6. Roasting the veggies... mmm, this looks wonderful.

  7. You know, I don't think I've ever eaten tortilla soup. (don't hate me, Heather)

    All those roasted vegetables are just my thing.

  8. The picture of the soup with the sliced avocado is SO inviting. I simply have to get around to making this recipe during our time with Rick.

  9. I love a good tortilla soup and this one looks especially creamy and inviting. An excellent way to celebrate. ;-)

  10. I love all of the roasted vegetables that are used in this!

  11. Lovely! I love all the roasted veggies, and your soup pot! Beautiful clay vessel.
    Great way to celebrate!

  12. I love tortilla soup! And this one looks amazing! Its a chilly day here in Colorado , and so this looks EXTRA wonderful! Mmmm!

  13. This was my favorite soup when I was in Mexico last summer!! I have yet to find it offered where I live. Looks like I'll have to make it myself. Thank you for sharing!!