This version of tortilla soup is similar to central Mexico’s Sopa Azteca. We enjoyed its warm and robust flavor after a drive over the cool mountain pass called Mil Cumbres (A Thousand Summits) from Morelia to Zitácuaro. The wooden buildings that characterize the region are called trojes, which is also the local name for small food stalls.
3 tablespoons corn oil plus oil necessary for frying chiles and tortillas
½ onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 ¼ cups tomato puree, fresh or canned
1 quart chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 sprig each thyme and marjoram
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
salt to taste
2 ancho chiles, seeded and cut into short strips and lightly fried in corn oil
6 corn tortillas, cut into strips and fried until crispy in corn oil
6 ounces queso fresco or farmer cheese, cut into strips
chopped fresh epazote (optional)
1 pint Mexican crema or crème fraiche
In a large saucepan, heat the 3 tablespoons oil, add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is soft. Add the tomato puree and cook until it is bubbling.
Add the broth, herbs and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Place ¼ cup of the fried chile strips and ¾ cup of the fried tortilla strips in a blender with 1 cup of the broth, liquefy and add to the pot. Cook another 5 minutes.
Ladle broth into individual soup bowls, and distribute the remaining chile and tortilla strips and the cheese evenly into the bowls. Sprinkle some chopped epazote onto each serving and accompany with crema, to be added to taste.
Makes 6 first course servings.
Source Article: The Cuisine of Michoacán: Mexican Soul Food