Tortilla Soup Serves 6
The popular San Miguel de Allende Restaurant, Hecho en Mexico, shares part of what used to be the Canal family’s summer estate built in 1736. In the winter of 2000, some 260 years after El Conde de Manuel Canal built his home, Chef Eric Nemer arrived in San Miguel de Allende to relax, having just sold his one of his three successful seafood restaurants, De Sotos, in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Still a young man, it wasn’t that long ago that Eric graduated in Restaurant Management from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, and completed several courses with the Culinary Institute of America. He says his love of food comes the home cooking of his mother, a native of Alabama.
Seeing a niche he believed needed to be filled, a menu that would appeal to the many visitors that get a little nostalgic for home cooking, he actualized just that: Steaks and Chicken, Fish and Chips, Salads, Hamburgers, and Coconut Shrimp, for example. But the comfort food de resistance is his Peanut Butter Cream Pie on a Graham Cracker Crust, drizzled with chocolate and topped with fresh whipped cream.
Most of his well trained and gracious staff speak English, and Chef Eric studied at Warren Hardy Spanish School to be able to communicate with his staff and clientele who don’t speak English. It was from his Spanish speaking cook, Imelda, that he got his delicious Sopa de Tortilla recipe, redolent with the distinctive flavor of epazote, which he so generously shares with us.
Sopa de Tortilla
Tortilla Soup Serves 6
10 roma tomatoes
1 clove garlic
1/4 white onion
6 cups chicken stock
4 stems of fresh epazote (can be 10-12 inches long)
12 tortillas cut into strips and a little vegetable oil to fry them in
1/4 cup cooked, shredded or diced, chicken per person
1/2 cup grated Manchego cheese (can substitute Gouda)
6 chipotles adobados (canned and easy to find)
Dry roast the first three ingredients in a cast-iron skillet or on the flat-top (plancha) of your stove. When roasted, add the tomatoes, garlic and onion to the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 or 15 minutes.
Take out the tomatoes, garlic ,and onion, and about 2 cups of the broth. Put this mixture in the blender and puree.
Add pureed ingredients to the rest of the broth and bring to a boil again. This time after it comes to a boil, immediately take the broth off the heat, add the whole branches of epazote, and let it sit until cool. Taste for seasoning. Strain, discarding the epazote, bits of tomato and onion, and refrigerate the broth overnight. As with all stocks, it will be much better the next day.
Set out serving bowls and while broth is re-heating, put into each bowl:
2 TBS of grated Manchego cheese
A handful of tortillas that have been cut into 1 inch strips and lightly fried in vegetable oil then drained on paper towels
Chunks or shreds of cooked chicken
A couple of avocado slices
One whole chipotle chile
Pour hot broth into the bowl and serve immediately.
Hecho en Mexico is open from noon to 10pm daily and is located on Ancha de San Antonio#8 in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Tel.(415) 154-6383
The next Comida Mexicana will be about Chiles en Nogada. Do you know why this national dish is only served one month out of the year in Mexico?