Ancho chile soup is an incredibly satisfying, chile-spiked broth juxtaposed by the tastes and textures of crumbled salty cheese, creamy avocado, sour cream, and fried tortilla strips. Mexican magnificence in a bowl.
This ancho chile soup is a breathtaking bowl of authentic Mexican-inspired magnificence. The broth, made from charred ancho chiles and vegetables, is simple to make yet complex in taste with incredible depth of flavor and a noticeable but not overwhelming ancho heat. The chile-spiked broth is balanced with crumbled salty cheese, creamy avocado, and sour cream and makes an incredibly satisfying soup.–Angie Zoobkoff
Ancho Chile Soup
- Quick Glance
- 1 H
- 1 H, 30 M
- Serves 6 to 8
- For the ancho chile broth
- 3 dried ancho chiles (about 25 grams)
- Boiling water
- 4 medium plum tomatoes, cored (about 400 grams)
- 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled (about 15 grams)
- 1 small white onion, halved and unpeeled (about 100 grams)
- For the fried tortilla strips
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) mild vegetable oil
- 8 corn tortillas, cut into strips
- For the fried pasilla chiles (optional)
- 8 small dried pasilla chiles (aka chile negro) (about 50 grams)
- For the ancho chile soup
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) mild vegetable oil
- 8 cups (1.9 liters) vegetable broth or chicken stock
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 pound (227 grams) queso fresco, crumbled
- 8 sprigs fresh cilantro, finely chopped, plus more to garnish
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) crema or sour cream
- 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced
- Make the ancho chile paste
- 1. Heat a 6-quart (5.7-liter) Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high. Cook the ancho chiles, flipping once, until lightly toasted and more pliable, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- 2. Transfer the ancho chiles to a bowl and add enough boiling water to cover. Let the ancho chiles soak, weighting them if necessary with something to keep them submerged, until softened, about 30 minutes.
- 3. Drain the ancho chiles, reserving the soaking liquid. Remove and discard the stems and seeds and toss the ancho chiles in a blender.
- 4. Return the Dutch oven to medium-high heat and add the whole cored tomatoes, whole garlic cloves, and onion halves. Cook, turning with tongs as needed, until each ingredient is blackened all over, about 10 minutes for the garlic and 15 to 20 minutes for the onion and tomatoes. As each ingredients is done, transfer it to the blender.
- 5. Purée the ancho chiles, tomatoes, garlic, and onion until smooth. (It’s okay, go ahead and keep the skins on the tomatoes and garlic. You’ll strain the sauce later.) If the purée seems incredibly thick, you can add a little of the reserved chile soaking liquid, a spoonful at a time, to thin it slightly. Pour the purée through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.
- Fry the tortilla strips
- 6. While the ancho chiles soak, place a wok or deep saucepan over medium-high heat, add the oil, and heat until hot but not smoking. Add a handful of tortilla strips, being careful not to crowd the pot. Fry the tortilla strips, turning as necessary, until crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove the crisped tortillas to a plate lined with paper towels or a brown paper bag. Repeat with the remaining tortilla strips.
- Fry the pasilla chiles (optional)
- 7. Return the wok or pan with the oil from the tortilla strips to medium-high heat. Fry the pasilla chiles, flipping once, until puffed and crisp, about 5 minutes total. Watch the pasilla chiles carefully as they go from toasted to scorched in seconds and since they’re already dark in color it’s easy to burn them. Transfer the fried pasilla chiles to a brown paper bag to drain.
- Make the ancho chile soup
- 8. Clean the Dutch oven or pot from the ancho chile paste and place over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Add the reserved ancho chile purée and cook, stirring constantly, until reduced slightly, about 6 minutes. Add the broth or stock as well as salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Divide the queso fresco and cilantro among the bowls and then ladle the ancho chile soup on top. Crumble 1 fried pasilla chile over each bowl of soup and garnish with cilantro, a dollop of crema or sour cream, sliced avocado, and tortilla strips.