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El Paso Cantina Toasted Tortilla Soup

Source: Chef Jeff Nichols, El Paso Cantina Grill

2 tablespoons corn oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 cups pureed roasted tomatoes
1 quart chicken broth
14 ounces queso ranchero or fresco cheese, cut into cubes
2 avocados, thin wedges
1 cup sour cream
2 limes, cut into wedges
8 corn tortillas, cut into strips and fried
3 pasilla chiles, cut into strips and fried

Chile Puree
8 dried pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 cup chicken broth, about

Chile Puree: Preheat broiler. On sheet tray arrange chiles in single layer. Place under broiler and cook 15 seconds. Remove and turn chiles. Cook 15 seconds on other side. Place chilies in bowl with hot tap water to cover. Soak 30 to 40 minutes. Strain and place chilies in blender. Puree chiles, adding just enough broth to help mixture through blades. Pass mixture through medium-fine strainer.

Heat oil in 1-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saut? until golden brown. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add Chile Puree and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, reducing puree to thick paste, being careful not to burn. Add tomato puree and chicken broth. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 20 to 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

Garnish soup as desired with Mexican cheese, avocados, sour cream, lime wedges, corn tortilla and chile strips.

Makes about 4 3/4 cups, 5 to 6 servings.

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