Sopa de Tortilla (Vegetarian Tortilla Soup)
There are many variations of classic Mexican tortilla soup. In this vegetarian version (feel free to substitute chicken for the tofu for a non-veg version) the rich broth is flavored with earthy ancho (New Mexican) chillies and made more filling by adding some kale that retains it's texture well in a hot soup.
tomatoes, canned with juice
use fire-roasted diced if you can find it
peeled and sliced
peeled and rough chopped
or chicken stock
extra-firm (or diced chicken for a non-veg version)
or to taste depending on saltiness of broth and tomatoes
ripe cut into 1/4 inch dice
or monterey jack, or any melting cheese
cut into 8 wedges
Heat a skillet over medium heat.
Toast the dried ancho chiles on both sides by pressing them down with a spatula. You could also use a flame to toast the chiles until fragrant.
When cooled, remove the stem and seeds and break or chop into pieces.
Add the chiles and the tomatoes along with the liquid from the can into a blender and liquify well.
In a dutch oven (large pot) heat the oil over medium-high heat.
Add the onions and garlic and cook stirring frequently until translucent and golden. Add the onions and garlic to the blender and process the mixture together.
Heat the dutch oven over medium heat until hot and pour the tomato, chile, onion and garlic mixture to the dutch oven. Cook vigorously stirring more or less constantly until the mixture is reduced to a thick paste.
Add water and stock and bring to a boil then reduce heat and adjust temperature to maintain a simmer.
Drain and dry the tofu with paper towels. Cut into ½ inch cubes.
In a large non-stick skillet heat the remaining oil over medium heat.
Add the tofu in a single layer and brown all sides of the cubes as evenly as possible. This takes some time and a bit of effort.
Add the tofu to the dutch oven and gently simmer for at least 30 minutes.
Add kale (or spinach) to the soup. Turn off the heat and let the kale wilt.
Remove from heat. Taste and adjust salt if needed. If there was salt in the broth and salt in the canned tomatoes you will not need to add much if any salt.
Divide the tortilla chips among 8 bowls and ladle soup on top. Sprinkle the cheese then avocado cubes over the soup.
Garnish with cilantro and serve with lime wedges.