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Tarascan Soup (Sopa Tarasca)

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This traditional soup from the state of Michoacán may be the original inspiration for what we now call tortilla soup; if so, it is still one of the very best versions! The cheese increases the amount of calories and sodium but is a delicious addition. Frying your own tortilla strips provides by far the best result, but if you wish to avoid that step, simply break up some packaged tortilla chips.

Tarascan Soup  (Sopa Tarasca)

Sopa Tarasca

Sopa Tarasca

2 corn tortillas, sliced into strips about 2 inches long and 1/8 inch wide
1 tablespoon canola oil, plus extra for frying the tortilla strips
2/3 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 ¼ cups canned, chopped tomatoes with juice
1 tablespoon pure ancho chile powder
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
½  teaspoon whole dried thyme
¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
¼ teaspoon dried leaf oregano
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 cup queso fresco, grated, or substitute fresh mozzarella
2 ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed, cut in half, and simmered in water for 15 minutes.
¼ cup sour cream
Minced green part of 1 green onion
Fry the tortilla strips. Heat about 2 inches of oil in a medium-size pot to about 350 degrees, and fry the tortilla strips until they are crisp. Drain the strips on paper towels and reserve.

For the broth: Heat a skillet over medium heat, add the 1 tablespoon oil and cook the onions and garlic until the onions are soft but not browned, then put them in a blender, Add the tomatoes with their juice and the chile powder to the blender. Purée the mixture, add a cup or two of broth (whatever amount your blender will accommodate), pulse to mix, and then pour the mixture into a pot.

Cook the soup. Add the remaining broth to the pot, as well as the bay leaves, thyme, marjoram, oregano, and salt. Bring to a boil and cook at a medium to low simmer for 15 minutes.

Serve the soup. Place ¼ cup of the cheese and ½ softed ancho chile in each of 4 bowls. Ladle the soup over the cheese, and top it with the sour cream, the tortilla strips, and green onion.

Serves 6 – 8.

Per Serving: 290 calories, 13 g protein, 26 g carbohydrates, 14 g total fat (5 g saturated), 25 mg cholesterol, 5 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 490 mg sodium

From Jim Peyton

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