I discovered this wonderful sopa in Patzcuaro, a town nestled high up in the hills of Michoacan in central Mexico. It has probably been thirty years since then, but it remains one of the most, if not the most, unforgettable meals I have ever enjoyed! Traditional ingredients and cooking methods turn what appears to be a simple soup into a bowl of flavors and aromas that exude the essence of the life in this mountain town that has quietly continued for over a thousand years.
The components of the recipe are somewhat labor intensive, but once gathered together ahead of time you will be more than delighted with the ease of composing the sopa as well as the glorious results. Really, a meal in itself and worthy of a celebration whenever it comes out of your kitchen!
On hand -prepared ahead of time:
- 4 cups bean puree Ref: Dried Beans; how to cook. (Basics)
- 1 ½ cups red chili sauce Ref: Red Chili Sauce; Dried Chilies (Basics)
- 2 cups roasted tomato sauce Ref: Roasted Tomato Sauce (Basics)
- 3 cups chicken stock
Salt soup to taste once heated for serving
- fried dried chili strips (rajas); dried chilies, flayed, seeds removed,cut into 1/4 inch strips quickly fried until crisped
- stone ground tortillas; cut into strips and quickly fried until crisp(or good quality stone ground corn chips)
- Jack or other mild cheese shaved off the block of cheese with a cheese slicer (4 slices per serving)
- sour cream, thinned slightly with whole milk if very thick
Combine the bean puree, red chili sauce, roasted tomato sauce in a large soup pot and add the stock. Stir together and warm over medium heat. The soup has the consistency of a hearty porridge; neither thin nor overly thick.
While the soup is heating prepare the bowls with finishing ingredients, placing a small cluster of corn tortilla strips in the bottom of the bowl. Fan the cheese slices over the tortilla strips, and scatter a few fried chili strips on top.
Pour the warm soup over the contents of the bowl and add several tortilla strips (or chips) on the surface, topping them with the some fried chili raja strips and a generous dollop of the sour cream.
It is all in the eating that makes this soup so wonderful. Gently fold in the garnishes on the surface into the soup and be sure to dip deep into the bowl to capture the molten cheese with every spoonful!
Refrigerate for up to five days or freeze .