Tortilla Soup (Sopa de Bolitas)

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Leave the tortillas out on a rack overnight to dry out. The crisper they are, the easier to blend into fine crumbs.
Recipe By: "The Essential Cuisines of Mexico" by Diana Kennedy
  • PrepN/A |
  • TotalN/A |
  • Serves 6


  • For the dumplings and assembly:
    • 12 stale corn tortillas, dried
    • 1/2 cup hot whole milk
    • 1/2 cup finely grated cotija cheese
    • 1 egg well beaten
    • Sea salt
    • 1/4 cup cold whole milk
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 6 cups tomato-chicken broth
    • 1/3 cup Mexican crema, or sour cream thinned with 1 teaspoon milk
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro or parsley
  • For the tomato-chicken broth:
    • 4 Roma tomatoes, broiled on an ungreased broiler pan about 4 minutes, until soft with brown spots
    • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped white onion
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 6 cups chicken broth
    • 1 sprig epazote


To make the broth: In a blender, puree the tomatoes, onion and garlic to a smooth sauce. Place the oil in a large saucepan and add the tomato mixture. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the sauce has reduced somewhat.

Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the epazote during the final minute of cooking. Adjust the seasoning.

To make the dumplings and for the assembly: Break the tortillas into small pieces and grind to fine crumbs in the blender in batches. You should have about 1 1/2 cups of crumbs.

Place the crumbs in a bowl and add the hot milk, cheese, egg and salt. Knead the dough well with your fingers; the mixture will be crumbly. Set it aside for several hours or refrigerate overnight to allow the tortilla particles to soften.

Again knead the dough well, adding the cold milk. Form the dough into one long piece. Divide this into 12 pieces and divide each piece in half. Lightly moisten your hands and roll the 24 pieces into balls about 1 inch in diameter.

Heat the oil in a skillet and fry the balls in batches very gently, turning them from time to time until they are golden brown, for about 5 minutes. Drain well on paper towels.

Reheat the broth. Add the tortilla balls and bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 2 minutes. Serve in individual bowls, allowing 4 balls per serving. Top each with a spoonful of the sour cream and some chopped cilantro.
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