MARCH 1, 2019

If just one soup could be labeled the classic Mexican soup, it would probably be this one, combining as it does the traditional flavors and textures of the country´s chile, tomato, avocado, epazote and tortilla.

3 cloves garlic
½ onion, cut into chunks
3 ripe tomatoes
6 cups(48 fl oz/1.5 l) chicken stock
1 tablespoon oil
2 small springs epazote
salt and freshly ground pepper
8–10 day-old corn tortillas
oil for frying
2-3 chiles pasillas
2 avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced or chopped 5 oz (155 g) queso fresco (or feta cheese), crumbled ½ cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) thick cream (crème fraîche)
3 limes, halved

- Roast the garlic, onion and tomatoes. Peel and core the tomatoes and puree in a blender with the garlic and onion, adding ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) of the chicken stock if necessary.
-Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over high heat and sauté the tomato puree. Boil for 2 minutes, lower the heat and cook, stirring constantly, for another 5 minutes or until the puree thickens and changes color.
- Add the remaining chicken stock and epazote. Return to the boil. Cover and cook at medium heat for 15 minutes.
- Cut the tortillas in half and cut each half into thin strips. Heat ½ in (1 cm) oil in a small skillet and, when hot, add the tortilla pieces a few at a time and fry, turning at least once, for about 3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oil with a slotted spatula and drain on absorbent paper. (If using fresh tortilla, dry first in a preheated 250°F/120° C oven for an hour.)
- Cut the chiles into ½-in (1 cm) rings and remove their seeds. Fry in the hot oil for about 1 minute or until crisp. Drain and set aside.

Serves 6