By Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger, Helene Siegel, Cesare Casella, Jack Bishop, Tom Lacalamita, Heather Dismore, Martin Yan, Dede Wilson, Joan H. Moravek, Kristin Eddy

Tortilla soup, probably the best known of the Mexican soups, is a brilliant use of two common Mexican leftovers — tortillas and salsa. If you use a favorite bottled smooth red salsa or a homemade version.

You can also simply puree the following ingredients in the blender: 1-1⁄2 pounds of Roma tomatoes, 6 cloves garlic, 1 small yellow onion, and 1⁄2 cup water and add to the pot along with the stock.

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/martinturzak]

Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/martinturzak

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour

Yield: 6 servings

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 cups salsa

5 cups chicken stock

1 dried chipotle chile, stemmed and seeded (optional)

1 teaspoon salt

3⁄4 pound fried tortilla chips

Garnishes: 1 bunch cilantro leaves (1⁄2 cup); 1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped; 1⁄2 cup Crema; 2 limes, cut in wedges

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until pale brown and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook 10 minutes longer.

  2. Pour in the tomato salsa, chicken stock, chipotle chile (if desired), and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

    Stir in the fried tortilla chips and cook 10 minutes longer, until the chips soften. Remove and discard the chile. Serve hot, topped with cilantro, avocado, Crema, and lime wedges.