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Sopa! The Splendor of Mexico’s Regional Soups

The regional soups of Mexico—rich with spices, chiles, and herbs—are vibrant bowlfuls destined to become new favorites.

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As much as people outside of Mexico seem to be familiar with tacos—to the point of having weekly Taco Nights at home and the trendy #tacotuesday on social media— not many are aware of the breadth and depth of the Mexican soup category. Yet the regional history and culinary splendor of Mexico is beautifully and deliciously expressed in soups that can enrich everyone’s weeknight repertoire just as much as tacos.

Savor what an afternoon in the late summer rainy months of central Mexico tastes like with the deeply rich and woody Guajillo Mushroom Soup. Try the Yucatán Peninsula’s iconic bright and citrusy flavors with the Sweet Lime and Chicken Soup (pictured at top). Experience the hilly mountains of Sinaloa by the spoonful with a silky and rustic Pinto Bean Soup (below) that features the most pillowy of masa dumplings laced with tangy queso fresco (they’re as easy to shape as modeling clay).

 

Or share in what any Mexican family knows as a beloved nurturing and satisfying everyday Smoky Chipotle Vegetable Soup (below). Aside from taking a culinary tour of Mexico by tasting its different soups, you will also start to discover what Mexican soups have in common.

For starters, a base of a flavorful broth—be it chicken, beef, or vegetable—lends a foundational layer of depth. Then comes a seasoned base that often makes use of one or more of the dozens of fresh or dried chiles (not all of them spicy and now widely available in the US), like the ancho adding a sweet and tangy taste, the guajillo offering a peppy and crowd-pleasing flavor, or the chipotle giving both smoke and spice.

Last, we love to dress and garnish all of our soups. This makes them not only look beautiful, it also makes them fun and accommodating as everyone can garnish to taste, allowing a festive, warm, and friendly spirit to shine through. And to boot, as with most Mexican food, Mexican soups can be stored and reheated time and again. A weeknight culinary treasure, indeed.

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