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Red Chili Soup with Mixed Mushrooms
Mexican chileatole is a traditional soup thickened with masa (ground nixtamalized corn). Made with fresh green chilies, the dish is called chileatole verde; with dried red chilies, chileatole rojo. This version of chileatole rojo with mushrooms comes from Friend of Milk Street, Iliana de la Vega, Mexico City native and chef of El Naranjo restaurant in Austin, Texas. Dark, raisiny ancho chilies and spicy, smoky chipotles, plus onion, garlic and tomatoes charred in a pan on the stovetop and blended until smooth, form a base for a soup with seductively deep, rich and earthy flavors. Masa harina—masa in flour form—is the thickener; it’s sold in most supermarkets with the baking ingredients or in the international aisle. If masa harina is not available, corn tortillas torn into small pieces work, too, but be sure to use corn tortillas, not those made with a blend of corn and wheat flour.
ancho chilies, stemmed, seeded and torn into a few pieces
chipotle chilies, stemmed, seeded and torn into a few pieces
01In a large pot over medium, toast both chili varieties, stirring often, just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a medium bowl and add boiling water to cover; reserve the pot. Soak until the chilies are fully softened, about 15 minutes.
Really liked this recipe with its rich flavors. Made it with torn corn tortillas. The masa was only sold in large 5lb bags so it made no sense to buy it. However, I needed to add some corn starch to thicken it up a bit (probably would not have been necessary with the masa). I will add that the spiciness was through the roof - and we eat really spicy food, Indian, Asian, Thai, in addition to Mexican. I know poblanos vary in spiciness and I assume that is true when roasted and dried. Perhaps we had a particularly spicy bunch in addition to the morita chilis we used. I would probably cut it by half next time.
Dried chilis come in wildly different sizes. Weight measurements would be helpful.