Out here in Austin Texas we eat a lot of Tortilla Soup.
It's a menu staple at restaurants around town with some joints doing a pretty fair job and others failing miserably.
If you want the really good stuff I hope you're friends with a chef because, while I can name twenty places off the top of my head that serve it, I can't think of one that does a superlative job.
The formula below is superb. It's a melange of a few different recipes but the backbone comes from my [former] giant Mexican sous chef Angel Castillo, the pride of Monterrey Mexico.
Recipe Part 1 [ The Part Where We Make the Stock ]
1 each Chicken, Hen, 3-5 lbs
3 each Bay leaves
1 each Onion, Yellow, Sweet
1 T. Peppercorns, Black
Tops from 1 bunch Celery, reserve stalks
* Submerge chicken in 4 quarts cold water in large stockpot
* Add Bay leaves, sweet onion, peppercorns and celery tops
* Bring to boil, cook 15 minutes
* Reduce to simmer, cook 1 hour
* Remove chicken, shred meat from bone, reserve
* Return carcass to water, boil 1 hour more
Recipe Part 2 [ Where We Combine Everything To Make the Soup ]
2 each Onions, Yellow, Sweet, chopped
6 each Chiles, Poblano, chopped
1 each Celery, bunch, chopped
1 each Garlic, bulb, minced
1 lb Tomatillas, broiled til black and soft, pureed in blender
* In large pan, saute onions, peppers, celery and garlic for 30 minutes
* Add tomatilla puree, cook for 15 minutes to bring flavors together
* Remove carcass from stock pot and discard
* Add vegetable mixture to fresh chicken stock
* Bring to boil
* Simmer one hour to allow flavors to coalesce
* Adjust flavors with salt and pepper
How To Serve
* Place 4 ounces reserved, shredded chicken in each bowl
* Pour hot soup over chicken
* Cut 8 good quality corn tortillas into strips
* Fry til crisp in peanut oil
* Add strips as garnish to bowls of fresh soup
Other standard garnishes are avocado, a bit of fresh lime juice, cotija cheese and crema Mexicana
I'd love to hear about how this recipe works for you. It's been my gold standard for almost 10 years. This is a "green" tortilla soup due to the tomatillas but you can make it red by using regular tomatoes.
Bon Appetit Y'all