Aztec Soup

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hours
Total Time: 1 hours 25 minutes


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 medium onion, chopped
  • 10 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp basil
  • 2 tbsp Mexican oregano
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 quarts water
  • 2 whole chickens, cut up
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs epazote (tsp dried)
  • 2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato paste
  • 1 cup red pepper, cut in thin slices
  • 1 cup green pepper, cut in thin slices
  • 2 carrots, sliced thin
  • 2 cups celery, sliced thin
  • 3 cups zucchini, diced
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 1 lb fresh spinach, washed, stems removed, chopped
  • 2 avocados, cubed
  • 1 1/2 pounds Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • corn tortillas, unsalted tortilla chips, broken into smaller pieces
  • salt


Heat olive oil in large skillet and sauté onions and garlic over low heat until they are translucent and soft, about 8-10 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, cumin, and black pepper, and cook over low heat, partially covered, another 10-12 minutes. Let cool, then blend in a processor until smooth. Set aside.

Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add chicken, bay leaves, and epazote. Water should cover chicken by an inch or so. Skim off foam and fat that surface in first 5 minutes. Add reserved puree and tomato paste and cook; partially covered, with liquid at rolling simmer, for another 20 minutes. Transfer chicken to a platter. When cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones, then shred.

Add peppers, carrots, and celery to broth and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Add zucchini and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove vegetables from broth with slotted spoon. Salt broth to taste.

Peel and parboil potatoes. Then dice and sauté in a little olive oil until brown.

Place a scoop of vegetables and a heaping tablespoon of potatoes in a large soup bowl. Next, add tortilla strips, spinach, shredded chicken, avocado, and cheese. Pour piping-hot broth over everything and serve immediately.