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Tortilla Soup with San Pablo Worm & Chile Salt

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The Jacobsen Test Kitchen just can’t get enough of our special release San Pablo Worm & Chile Salt! We’re using it to season chicken, rice, roasted vegetables... even desserts! For this version of the classic tortilla soup, adapted from Alison Roman for the NY Times, we wanted to highlight the heat of the soup while adding a delicate smoky flavor. Be warned: seasoning fried tortilla strips with the Worm & Chile Salt makes them highly addictive, so we recommend making a little extra for snacking!

Tips: You can poach your own chicken for this recipe, but we suggest saving yourself some time and using rotisserie chicken instead. This recipe is easily made vegetarian by using our Habanero Salt instead of our San Pablo Worm & Chile Salt and swapping black beans for the chicken.


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 jalapeño, seeds removed, finely chopped
½ teaspoon San Pablo Worm & Chile Salt 
1½ teaspoons chile powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1–2 chipotles in adobo to taste, finely chopped
1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and crushed
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1½ cups shredded chicken

Optional additions
2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen and thawed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

For the tortilla strips
2 cups vegetable oil
8 small corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch strips (we love the Heirloom Corn Tortillas from Masienda!)
San Pablo Worm & Chile Salt

Avocado sliced
Chopped red or white onion
Lime wedges
Queso Fresco or other type of shredded cheese
Crema or sour cream


Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and jalapeño and season with san pablo worm & chile salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and translucent, 5 to 8 minutes. Add chile powder and stir to coat. Cook a minute or two to toast the spices, then add chipotles and tomatoes. Season a little more with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes start to caramelize a bit on the bottom of the pot, concentrating their flavor. Use an immersion blender or a food processor to puree the soup. You can either have a smooth puree or leave some pieces for more texture.

Add broth, 2 cups of water and chicken along with any optional additions. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Simmer until flavors meld and broth tastes rich and flavorful, 15 to 20 minutes.

Heat oil in a large cast-iron or stainless-steel skillet or heavy-bottomed pot. Bring oil to 375 degrees and working in batches, fry tortilla strips until light golden brown and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season with worm & chile salt.

Place about 3/4 of the tortilla strips into broth and stir to submerge and soften for a few minutes. Divide soup among bowls and top with avocado, cheese, sour cream, cilantro, onion and remaining fried tortilla strips. Serve lime alongside for squeezing.

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