Rica’s Tortilla Soup

Rica Gonzalez is one of my favorite people in the entire world. She really is like a second mom to me and has taught me so much of what I know about preparing Mexican food. Originally from Durango, she worked for my family for twenty years and now splits her time between Mexico and California. Rica’s food is clean, fresh, and so tasty. Every time she cooks, I get excited. Here is her wonderful and simple tortilla soup. It’s delicious!

Even though tomatoes are not in season yet look for small grown-in-the-vine varieties like Campari and make sure you use your nose at the market—the ones that are fragrant will taste better and enhance the overall flavor of the soup.

Drink: I prefer a clean-tasting white wine with this soup. Like a Gruner Veltliner from the Wachau region of Austria or a Chardonnay that is made in stainless steel rather than oak.

Rica’s Tortilla Soup

Serves 4

2 cups homemade or good quality chicken stock

4 tomatoes, quartered (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1 jalapeño chili (seeds optional)

1⁄4 white onion

1 clove garlic

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper


3/4 cup grapeseed oil or safflower oil

6 small corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips

Flaky sea salt

1/2 avocado cut into large dice

1/2 cup cubed Monterey Jack cheese

chopped fresh cilantro


In a blender puree stock, tomatoes, chili with stem removed, onion, jalenpeño, garlic, salt, and pepper. Bring pureé to a simmer in a large saucepan.

While the soup is simmering, heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to ripple, add 1/2 of the tortilla strips and fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, remove tortilla strips from the skillet and drain on paper towels. Repeat frying with the remaining tortillas. Sprinkle with salt

Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with tortilla strips, avocado, cheese and cilantro.