Fire me up some Ancho Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ancho Chicken Tortilla Soup
Don't be intimidated by the unfamiliar ingredient in the title. This is a quick soup that tastes more complex than it actually it is. The addition of Ancho Peppers to traditional chicken tortilla soup lends a sweetness and depth of flavor your guests will marvel at. Dried ancho chillies are the mildest of the chilli peppers. They can be found in most gourmet food stores, though in a pinch, you can pan roast a few poblano peppers, as ancho chillies are just their dried variety. Fire it up!


6 (6-inch) flour tortillas
Cooking spray
2 large ancho chiles, seeded and stemmed
1 quart chicken stock
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 ears corn on the cob, husked, kernels removed or 1 cup frozen kernels, defrosted
1 large red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped
1 red chile pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (28-ounce) can fire roasted diced or crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon honey
1 rotisserie chicken, skinned and shredded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 cups water
2 limes
2 ripe Hass avocados, halved
Sour cream, for garnish
Cilantro leaves, for garnish


Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the tortillas into 1/2-inch strips and scatter on large baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray and bake until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and reserve.

While the tortillas crisp, add the ancho chiles and the chicken stock to a large pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chiles are tender. Remove from the heat to cool.

While the anchos simmer, heat a medium soup pot with vegetable oil over high heat. Add the corn and saute until charred at the edges, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat a little, add the onions, jalapeno, red chile pepper and garlic. Season with cumin, smoked paprika and cinnamon. Saute for 5 minutes, then stir in the tomatoes.

Puree the anchos and the stock in a food processor, then add it to the soup pot. Stir in the honey and the shredded chicken and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Thin the soup with 1 or 2 cups of water and simmer over low heat to combine flavors, about 5 minutes.

Zest and juice 1 lime and add to the soup pot. Seed and dice the avocados and add to a small bowl. Dress with the juice of the remaining lime.

Pile some crispy tortilla strips into each soup bowl. Top with diced avocado and ladle the soup over the avocado. Garnish with sour cream and whole or chopped cilantro leaves.


Left over anchos? They make a fantastic rub. Great on shrimp or pork. I like this recipe from Tyler Florence:
Slow Grilled Ancho Rubbed Pork


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