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Ancho Chili Soup

4 Servings

40 minutes

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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.




Don't use the chili soaking water in the soup. It may give the finished dish an unwelcome bitterness.

40 minutes


  • 4

    medium ancho chilies (about 2 ounces), stemmed, seeded and torn into pieces

  • 1

    cup boiling water


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Sarah S.
May 23, 2022
Simple and pretty easy
This is a good tortilla soup base.
Kelsy B.
June 8, 2023
Great flavor
This soup has a nice depth of flavor. The assortment of toppings really bring it together with additional flavor and texture.
Paul H.

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.

Stacey T.

This was good. But not great. I thought the recipe added too much water. I added more onions, garlic and tomatoes which gave more depth to the broth. I will make it again, but maybe pour it over charred veggies.