Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sopa de Tortillas

One of our favorite things to eat in Mexico is Tortilla Soup or Sopa de Tortillas.  We’ve already had it two or three times since we returned to Puerto Vallarta (aka PV or Vallarta).


So, when some friends told us about a Tortilla Soup cooking class they were scheduled to attend, we were happy to jump in.


The class was taught at the Spanish Language Experience, a Spanish language school, in El Centro, the heart of downtown PV.  In addition to six classrooms, they also have a full kitchen and dining room that will seat about 16 in an interior courtyard.


The instruction was all in Spanish by the two female chefs.  The soup is made with tomatoes, marjoram, garlic and water.  After being boiled it is garnished with strips of dry roasted strips of tortillas, slices of avocado, dollops of crème fresh, and—subject to taste—crumbled, dried chile that has been fried crisp in oil.


We always knew most of the ingredients (although we have had it in several variations), but we didn’t know the “secret” steps required to make it.  We now know that part of the preparation begins a week prior to making the soup.  Sorry, we can’t tell you—it’s a secret.


Once the soup was ready to serve, we all sat down in the dining room.  Along with the soup we were served fried nopales (a type of prickly pear cactus) with slices of panela cheese on top—very good for you.  To drink we had Jamaica (ha-my-ca) juice made from the Jamaica flowers.  All in all, a very traditional Mexican meal.


We have probably had Tortilla Soup in at least 15 different restaurants in Mexico and in the States as well.  In fact one of the better servings we’ve had was at a Mexican restaurant in the tiny town of Belfair, Washington.  However, our favorite is still the recipe served at Ernesto’s Good Grub in the Versaille district of PV.  Ernesto’s Sopa de Tortillas is so popular that the last time we were there he said he’s thinking of not re-printing his menus because it seems that’s all anyone orders! 


So, now it is up to us to give it a try on our own. We don’t think Ernesto should be too concerned.




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