Yes, it was amazing and beautiful and delicious and hectic and kind of overwhelming and wonderful. I have so many thoughts to gather and photos to look at and memories to replay that I am just not up to tackling my first recap post yet, though there will be many forthcoming, I assure you.
So instead, I bring you soup.
I know I should claim that the forthcoming recipe is the best, most mind-blowing, awe-inspiring, screen-licking, drool-worthy, world changing thing to ever be blogged about, ever. I should use plenty of exclamation points. But really, it's just soup. A very good one, if I do say so myself, but at the end of the day it's unlikely to change your life or play a role in world peace.
What it may do, however, is soothe a sore throat, or ease a cold, or just simply make you feel kind of good. This is what it did for me at Cafe el Popular in the Centro Historico district late one evening, and so I tried to faithfully recreate it at home, where it had a similar effect on my mind and on my spirits.
I read a bunch of recipes online (including at one of my favorite sites, Simply Recipes) and then I just sort of winged it. My sense is that this isn't the sort of dish that calls for exact measurement, so I will tell you in a rather inexact way what I did, should you choose to have a go at it yourself:
Gently simmer 2 pounds of chicken thighs in just enough chicken stock to cover (about 4 cups) until tender. Remove the chicken and shred the meat once cool. Reserve the stock. In a cast iron skillet, heat one pasilla and one or 2 guajillo chiles for about 30 seconds per side. Remove the seeds and crush the chiles. In a stock pot, saute one chopped onion in oil until soft. Add 5 cloves of garlic and the chiles, stir. Add 24 ounces chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste. Puree with an immersion blender and add the reserved chicken stock. While this simmers shallow fry corn tortilla strips in hot oil until brown and crispy, set aside to drain.
Next, in a bowl, place diced queso fresco, avocado, tortilla strips, shredded chicken, and some dried pasillo chile: