Soap Azteca Tortilla Soup (Rick Bayless)
•1largedried pasilla (negro) chile, stemmed and seeded
•115-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted)
•2tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
•1medium white onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
•3 garlic cloves, peeled
•2quarts chicken broth
•1largeepazote sprig, if you have one
•2cup shredded, cooked rotisserie chicken
•1large ripeavocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
•1 1/2cups (6 ounces) shredded Mexican melting cheese (like Chihuahua, quesadilla or asadero) or Monterey Jack, brick or mild cheddar
•A generous 4cups (about 6 ounces) roughly broken tortilla chips
•1/2cupMexican crema, sour cream or creme fraîche for garnish
•1large lime, cut into 6 wedges, for serving
Quickly toast the chile by turning it an inch or two above an open flame for a few seconds until its aroma fills the kitchen. (Lacking an open flame, toast it in a dry pan over medium heat, pressing it flat for a few seconds, then flipping it over and pressing it again.) Break the chile into pieces and put in a blender jar along with the tomatoes with their juice. (A food processor will work, though it won’t completely puree the chile.)
Heat the oil in a medium (4-quart) saucepan over medium-high. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 7 minutes. Scoop up the onion and garlic with a slotted spoon, pressing them against the side of the pan to leave behind as much oil as possible, and transfer to the blender. Process until smooth.
Return the pan to medium-high heat. When quite hot, add the puree and stir nearly constantly, until thickened to the consistency of tomato paste, about 6 minutes. Add the broth and epazote, if using. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt, usually about a generous teaspoon (depending on the saltiness of the broth).
Just before serving, add the chicken to the simmering broth. Divide the avocado, cheese and tortilla chips between serving bowls. When the chicken is done, usually about 5 minutes, ladle the soup into the bowls. Garnish with the crema. Pass the lime separately.