Tortilla Soup
Tortilla Soup Photo courtesy of Lisa Hymel

If you associate Mexican food only with salsa and refried beans, Chad Clevenger is about to transform your taco night. At his new Atlanta restaurant, Alma Cocina, the chef has crafted a menu on which intriguing dishes like duck-confit tostadas appear alongside familiar favorites like tortilla soup. Clevenger elevates his version of the classic soup by pureeing tortilla chips directly into the broth to enhance its deep corn flavor. It might not be traditional, but in our kitchen, this soup’s a hit.

Makes 4 servings
Start to Finish: 45 minutes

Ingredients

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil

1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

4 medium tomatillos, husked and quartered

2 medium tomatoes, diced

2 large handfuls tortilla chips

4 cups low-sodium tomato juice

4 small corn tortillas

Salt

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon sugar

1 Haas avocado--halved, pitted, peeled and diced

4 ounces queso fresco, shredded (about ¾ cup)

Directions

1. In a large saucepan, warm ¼ cup of canola oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the cumin and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the tomatillos, tomatoes, tortilla chips and tomato juice. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush one side of the tortillas with the remaining tablespoon canola oil. Stack the tortillas and cut them crosswise into ¼-inch strips. Cut the strips in half. Spread the strips on the prepared baking sheet and season with salt. Bake, stirring halfway through, for 15 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Set aside to cool.

3. In a blender or the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade attachment, carefully blend the soup in batches until smooth. Return to the saucepan and add the lime juice and sugar. Season with salt.

4. Divide the soup among 4 bowls. Garnish with the tortilla strips, avocado and cheese. Serve immediately.

Finishing Touches

It's the details that count! Try these tips

  • Give this soup a special presentation with traditional Mexican pottery. We love these hand-painted Talavera bowls

  • Alma Cocina is heating up downtown Atlanta with squash guacamole, braised-lamb tacos and tobacco-infused tequila. Check out the full menu of modern Mexican cuisine here.

  • Make this a more protein-packed meal by adding some shredded chicken.

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