There are endless variations of this Mexican soup. Some cooks add green chilli, for instance, others prefer chipotles in adobo. It can be served just with coriander, or with grated cheese, diced tomato and avocado piled on top. In summer use fresh tomatoes; in winter canned tomatoes will be fine, too. The noodles quickly soak up the liquid, so serve this without delay.
- 800 gm canned whole tomatoes, drained
- 2 onions, coarsely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 canned chipotle chillies in adobo, plus 1 tbsp of the adobo sauce (see note)
- 80 ml melted lard or olive oil (1/3 cup)
- 100 gm spaghettini, coarsely broken
- Pinch of saffron threads
- Coriander sprigs and lime wedges, to serve
- 1 chicken (1.5kg)
- 2 leeks, coarsely chopped
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 1For chicken stock, place all ingredients, 2.5 litres cold water and 2 tsp salt in a large saucepan, bring to the boil and skim foam from surface. Simmer, turning the chicken a couple of times during cooking, and topping up with extra water if necessary so chicken remains nearly covered with water, until meat is falling from the bone (2-2½ hours). Strain and skim fat from the surface. Shred the chicken meat and refrigerate each separately until required.
- 2Process tomato, onion, garlic, chillies and adobo sauce in a food processor until smooth. Heat half the lard in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, carefully add tomato mixture and saffron (be careful, hot lard will spit) and simmer, half-covered, for 8-10 minutes). Add 1.5 litres stock (freeze remainder for another use), season to taste and simmer half-covered for 20-30 minutes, adding chicken in the last 5 minutes of cooking.
- 3Heat remaining lard in a large frying pan, add pasta and stir continuously until evenly golden brown (2-3 minutes), then drain on paper towels. Add to soup and simmer until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally so the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan (5-6 minutes). Season to taste and divide among bowls straight away, scatter with coriander and serve with lime wedges.
Drink Suggestion: Spicy grenache rosé. Drink suggestion by Max Allen