This hearty soup, a favorite in central Mexico but served throughout the country, results from cooking leftover tortillas with other cantina staples: onion, garlic, chilies and salsa. When left for a few hours, the soup will thicken, and can be thinned with more liquid or served as a starchy side dish.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 dried chipotle chili pepper, stemmed and seeded (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups red salsa
  • 5 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
  • 1/2 pound corn tortilla chips
  • Garnishes
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 lime, cut into 6 wedges

Companion recipe: Red Salsa


In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and the chipotle chili, if using, and cook for 1-2 minutes longer. Then add the salsa and stock or water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes to blend the flavors. Stir in the tortilla chips and simmer until the chips soften and begin to break apart, 10-15 minutes.

Remove and discard the chipotle chili, if used. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish each serving with cilantro and onion. Squeeze a wedge of lime over each bowl, then drop the wedge into the bowl. Serve immediately.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 438

nutrition information per serving

281 calories; 16g total fat; 0mg cholesterol; 846mg sodium; 28g carbohydrates; 3g fiber; 9g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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