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Tortilla Soup (Sopa) - Aguada (liquid) style

Any Mexican (or Tex-Mex) cook will have a range of tortilla soup recipes at hand. There are many versions; just visit any restaurant - you'll find each has its own style and taste. This particular sopa - or soup - is a wet soup (aguada). Sopas secas - the dry soups - are those that include rice and pasta. They're not really soups according to what we normally expect.

Sopa de Tortilla (Tortilla Soup)
(4 servings)

4 corn tortillas (packaged variety or homemade - to be fried)
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil (will need extra for frying tortillas)
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)
1 small bunch cilantro (see note for chopping)
Black pepper and salt to taste

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes or until onions become translucent. Remove before garlic turns brown as it will become bitter-tasting. Add the tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and allow to simmer. Some of the liquid will reduce. Add chopped cilantro (reserving some for garnish if desired) in the last ten minutes of cooking time.

Note for chopping cilantro: remove stems and place leaves in a shallow bowl or coffee cup. Use kitchen shears (hold vertically) to snip the leaves into smaller pieces.

To fry tortillas: cut or slice tortillas into strips. In a skillet, add enough vegetable oil to cover about three-quarter inches of the bottom. Heat and add tortilla strips. They should bubble and float to the top. When crisp and golden, remove to drain on paper towels. (Can use tortilla chips without frying to save time).

Place a few strips in the bottom of a soup bowl. Pour the hot sopa into the bowl and serve.

This is a wonderful soup to serve as a side or even as an appetizer. Make it ahead of time (minus frying the tortilla strips) and heat when ready to serve.

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Pittsburg, TX 75686
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