MICHOACÁN: Sopa Tarasca

My dad is from the Mexican state of Michoacán.  He grew up in a small farming town and migrated to the United States when he was in his twenties.  We would visit his hometown and our cousins as often as we could afford it.  And we had fun!

This is my dad working on the family farm when he was a teenager.

This is my dad working on the family farm when he was a teenager in Jungapeo, Michoacán, Mexico.

 My uncle was mainly a farmer but he had a few dairy cows, so he was also the town milkman.  When we visited, he would take us along on his truck as he delivered the milk.  Though we had to get up before dawn, it was a great way to see the town and meet a lot of people.

I wanted to make a traditional dish from Michoacán so I decided to make this soup.  It is simple but full of flavor.  There are two varieties of this soup, so I combined them to my taste.  One version does not use beans.  The other version uses beans and purees them before adding them to the soup.  I add the beans but I keep them whole.  I like the texture they add to the broth.  If you’ve had tortilla soup, this is similar.  This version is vegan if you don’t use the Cotija cheese or the Mexican crema.

Sopa Tarasca (Tarascan Soup)

6 Roma tomatoes

2 – 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled

½ white onion

1 serrano chile

2 Ancho chiles, seeded and deveined

1 cup water or vegetable broth

1 corn tortilla, roughly chopped

5 teaspoons Better Than Boullion – No Chicken Base (see note)

1 tablespoon grape seed oil or other vegetable oil

4 cups of water

½ teaspoon Mexican oregano, crumbled

Salt to taste

4 cups cooked pinto beans, drained

Grape seed oil or vegetable oil

6 corn tortillas, cut into narrow strips and fried crisp

2 Ancho chiles, seeded and deveined and cut into narrow strips and fried crisp

Avocado, Cotija cheese, Mexican crema (or sour cream)

Set your oven to the broil setting.

Take the two Ancho chiles (seeded and deveined) and cover them with hot water for 20 minutes.


Place the tomatoes, onion and garlic on a baking sheet and broil until they are roasted.  Make sure to turn the ingredients so they roast evenly.  The garlic will be ready before the rest of the ingredients, so make sure to remove them before they burn.  Peel them and set aside.  Remove the tomatoes, onion and serrano chile from the oven and let them cool slightly.  Place them a blender along with the reserved garlic.


 Add the Ancho chiles, the tortilla, the boullion and the water to the blender and purée until very smooth.


In a soup pot or a large pan, heat the oil over medium to high heat and add the purée.  Let the purée cook for 10 minutes.


Add the water and cook over medium heat for another 10 minutes.  Add the Mexican oregano, the salt and the pinto beans.  Stir and cook for another 10 minutes.


Heat enough oil in a sauce pan to fry the tortilla strips and the Ancho chile strips. Drain them on paper towels and set aside.


Pour the soup into a bowl and top with the avocado slices, tortilla strips and chile strips.  You can also add some Cotija cheese and/or Mexican crema too.

Enjoy this simple soup.  It is deliciously filling, especially on a cold winter day!

Note:  I used Better Than Boullion – No Chicken Base to make the soup vegan.  You can use vegetable stock or chicken stock instead of the water and omit the boullion.

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