Recipe: Sopa Azteca from 'El Mirador' Restaurant in San Antonio
Posted: Apr 22 2014
My family has been going to El Mirador in San Antonio, Texas every Saturday for the past 30 years for their Azteca and Xochitl soups which are made specifically for Saturday. Those in the know in San Antonio (which have included former U.S. Presidents, and other movers and shakers in the business world) come in on Saturdays to enjoy the soup and hob nob for this ‘insiders event”, the Azteca and Xochitl soups.
In presenting a recipe, there’s no other recipe for Sopa Azteca that I wanted to write about, except for the Sopa Azteca that El Mirador has been making for decades, which comes from a family recipe originating from the Trevino family who started the restaurant back in the 60s. Here’s the Sopa Azteca recipe which I found after doing some research, in archives from a feature published in a 1986 newspaper.
Sopa Azteca from El Mirador in San Antonio
1½ teaspoons cooking oil
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
6 medium cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
2 pounds large red tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
1½ tablespoons oregano
1½ tablespoons basil
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
2½ quarts of water
2 pounds chicken pieces
3 or 4 bay leaves
Sprig epazote (optional – see note)
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 cup bell pepper cut in thin slices about an inch long
1 cup celery cut diagonally in thin slices
1½ cups diced zucchini
1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
salt to taste, if desired
1 medium potato, peeled, parboiled, diced, and fried
15 small corn tortillas, cut in strips about ¼ inch wide, deep fried and drained
½ pound fresh spinach, washed, stems removed, and shredded
1 avocado, cubed
1 pound shredded mozzarella or Monterrey Jack cheese
1) Put oil in a large skillet. Add onions and garlic; sauté until onions are translucent and soft – about 8-10 minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano, basil, cumin, and black pepper. Cook until tomatoes are soft, 10-15 minutes. Note: To prepare the tomatoes how El Mirador does, instead of cooking them - roast them on the grill until they are lightly blackened.
2) Blend mixture in a blender until smooth. Set aside.
3) Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add chicken, bay leaf, and epazote. Skim off fat and foam. Add puree and tomato paste, and cook until chicken is tender about 20 minutes. Remove chicken. Skin, shred, and set aside.
4) Add bell pepper, celery, zucchini and carrot to broth and cook about 10 minutes, until crisp but tender. Remove vegetables from broth, so as not to overcook. Salt broth to taste.
5) To Serve, place vegetables and potato in a large soup bowl. Add, in order, tortilla strips, spinach (around the top – shredded chicken, cubed avocado, and cheese. Pour hot broth into soup bowl and serve. Each bowl must be prepared as described to distribute vegetables and tortillas evenly.
*Note, additionally any Mexican white cheese (such as a crumbly Chihuahua cheese) can also be crumbled on top to add additional flavor to the soup.