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Ancho Chili Soup
This simple, meat-free spin on tortilla soup is inspired by a recipe from the late Patricia Quintana, chef, author and authority on Mexican cooking. Anchos chilies—dried ripe poblanos with a mild heat balanced by notes of tobacco, cocoa and dried fruit—drive the rich flavor and deep color of the soup. The agave nicely rounds out the earthiness with a touch of sweetness, so don’t omit it. If you don’t have any on hand, use 1 teaspoon white sugar instead. We like to top each serving with diced avocado and crumbled queso fresco.
medium ancho chilies (about 2 ounces), stemmed, seeded and torn into pieces
cup boiling water
01In a Dutch oven over medium, toast the chilies, pressing with a wide metal spatula and flipping once or twice, until fragrant and a shade darker in color, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and add the boiling water. Let stand until softened, about 10 minutes.
Toasting the ancho chilies in my dutch oven stains it (requiring an overnight soak with baking soda to remove) so instead I put them on a parchment covered sheet pan and toast at 300F over for 8 minutes.