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Tortilla Soup with Avocado Relish

Just in time for chilly winter temperatures, I’m cooking up some flavorful Tortilla Soup. This recipe is inspired by my first-ever-restaurant, Mesa Grill. It is also straight from the pages of my Beat Bobby Flay Cookbook, so you know it comes together quickly.

Tortilla Soup

with Avocado Relish

Serves 4


1 ancho chile, seeded

Boiling water

1 or 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, to taste

4 tablespoons canola oil

1 medium Spanish onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 quart store-bought low sodium chicken stock or broth

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs

3 tablespoons Bobby’s spice rub (recipe below)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Avocado relish (recipe below)

1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

1/4 cup grated Cotija cheese

4 ounces store-bought blue and yellow tortilla chips, coarsely chopped

Cilantro leaves, for garnish


Bobby’s Spice Rub

1/2 cup sweet Spanish paprika

2 tablespoons ancho chile powder

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons mustard powder

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper


Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl until combined. Store in a tightly sealed container in the panty for up to 6 months.


Avocado Relish

4 Haas avocados, cut into large dice

1/4 cup finely diced red onion

Juice of 2 limes

1 or 2 jalapeño or serrano chiles, fresh or roasted

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Combine the avocado, onion, lime juice, chiles and cilantro in a large bowl. Using a fork, coarsely mash the ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Put the ancho chile in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water, and let sit for 15 minutes. Reserving the soaking liquid, drain the chile and transfer to a food processor. Add 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid and the chipotle peppers. Purée until smooth, scraping the sides and bottom of the food processor and processing again, if necessary.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium Dutch oven over high heat until shimmering.  Add the onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and deepened in color, about 2 minutes.

Add the stock and ancho paste  and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until slightly reduced and the flavors have melded, about 30 minutes. Strain the soup into a large bowl (discard the solids). Rinse  out the Dutch oven, return the soup to the pot, and cook over high heat until warmed through and slightly reduced, about 10 minutes.

While the soup is cooking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Put the chicken thighs in a bowl and add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the spice rub, and salt and black pepper.  Toss well to coat the chicken evenly. Heat a grill pan or cast iron skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown and charred on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until cooked through, 10 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting into 1/4 inch-thick slices.

Divide the chicken among 4 bowls. Ladle the soup over the chicken, top with a dollop of relish, sprinkle with both cheeses, and top with a handful of tortilla chips. Garnish with cilantro leaves.