Welcome December! Now that the weather is finally getting cooler out it’s time to start making some soups! A friend of mine had made this one before me and said it was really good. She added the lettuce in there and said it was really good even though it sounds funky. I used a different dried chili so I ended up with a redder soup then the picture in the book, but I don’t care it’s really good. A couple tips – the soup makes a lot so you need 2 pots if you’re gonna make a whole batch. Another thing is it taste better next day and you’ll need to skim off the 1-2 inches of fat on the top. I might try making this again using smoke chicken or just the breast to make it easier. Either way this is worth the time and effort 100%.
(Adapted from Eva’s Kitchen by Eva Longoria)
4 pounds chicken legs
4 pounds chicken thighs
12 cups low sodium chicken broth, or cold water
4 dried pasilla chilies
4 dried ancho chilies
6 tomatoes, chopped
1 large white onion, diced
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
2 large bunches of fresh cilantro, leaves chopped
1 cup vegetable oil, plus more if needed
36 white or yellow corn tortillas, sliced into ¼ inch strips
1 head iceberg lettuce, cored and shredded
6 large avocados, pitted, peeled, and diced
3 cups grated or crumbled queso fresco (about 12 ounces)
In a large stockpot, place the chicken legs and thighs and the broth or cold water. I had to put in 2 pots because it makes a lot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is opaque throughout and tender when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes.
With a slotted spoon remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool. Set aside the stockpot of broth. As soon as the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull off and shred the meat; discard the bones.
Meanwhile, place the pasilla and ancho chiles in a medium saucepan and add cold water to cover. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the chiles are soft, about 10 minutes. Drain the chiles and remove their stems and veins. If you want a spicier bite, keep the seeds; if not, remove the seeds as well.
In the work bowl of the food processor, place the chiles, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and the salt. Process until smooth, adding a ½ cup of the reserved chicken broth to loosen the mixture if it’s too thick.
Stir the chile puree and half of the cilantro into the broth. Bring to a simmer over low heat, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed. Stir in the reserved chicken and the remaining cilantro and remove the pot from the heat.
While the broth is simmering, line a baking sheet or large plate with paper towels. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking and shimmery. Add a handful or tow of tortilla strips-they can be touching but not overlapping-and fry just until lightly browned around the edges, about 45 seconds. Use tongs or a spider to transfer the strips to the paper towels, tossing and moving them around so they take on squiggly shapes as they cool and harden. Continue in batches until all the tortilla strips are fried, adding more oil to the pan if necessary.
When ready to serve, place the lettuce, avocado, and queso fresco in separate bowls to make serving easier.
For each serving, place a few tortilla strips and a scoop of lettuce in a soup bowl. Ladle the soup into the bowl. Top with a spoonful of avocado, sprinkle some queso fresco on top, and serve.
Here’s how much the recipe above makes.