Toasted Tortilla Soup with Fresh Cheese and Chile Pasilla

Sopa de Tortilla


  • 2tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
  • 1medium onion, sliced
  • 2cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1ripe medium-small tomato, roasted or boiled, cored and peeled
  • 1 1/2quarts good broth, preferably poultry
  • Salt
  • 4 to 6 corn tortillas, preferably stale, store-bought ones
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 to 2dried pasilla negro chiles, stemmed, seeded and deveined
  • 8ounces (about 2 cups) cubed Mexican queso fresco or other fresh cheese like farmer's cheese, or even Muenster or Monterey Jack
  • 1large lime, cut into 4 to 6 wedges


For the broth flavoring. In a medium-size skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the lard or oil over medium-low. Add the onion and whole garlic cloves, and fry until both are a deep golden-brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Scoop into a blender jar or food processor, add the tomato and process until smooth.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of lard or oil in the same skillet over medium-high. When hot, add the tomato mixture and stir constantly until thick and considerably darker, about 5 minutes. Scrape into a large saucepan.

For the broth. Stir the broth into the tomato mixture, partially cover and simmer for 30 minutes over medium-low heat. Season with salt.

For the garnishing ingredients. If the tortillas are fresh or moist, let them dry out for a few minutes in a single layer. Slice them in half, then slice the halves crosswise into strips 1/4-inch thick. Heat the 1/3 cup vegetable oil in a medium-small skillet over medium-high. When hot, add the tortilla strips and fry, turning frequently, until they are crisp. Drain on paper towels. Cut the chiles into 1-inch squares and fry in the hot oil very briefly, about 3 or 4 seconds; immediately remove and drain, then place in a small serving bowl.

Assembling the soup. Just before serving, divide the cheese among 4 to 6 bowls, and top with the fried tortilla strips. Ladle on the hot soup and serve right away. Pass the toasted chile separately, along with the lime (the juice of which brings out the flavors of the soup).



  1. Looking forward to trying this recipe. And see if it is as good as how I learned to make it and several other good Mexican Recipes in the Bosque Del Apache Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico when my husband & I were volunteering our work there about 15 years ago. Have you got a good Posole recipe? I lost mine somewhere in our moves.

  2. Very nice! Good, simple flavors brought together in a wonderful combination. The softened cheese from the warm broth was a treat.

    Mid-October didn’t allow me a fresh tomato, so I substituted ¼ cup of petite diced tomatoes.

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