Sopa Conde

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This is my version of a soup I had at La Olla in Oaxaca. It's fabulous and pretty simple and gets rave reviews whenever I make it. It is not low fat, kosher, or vegetarian. You could make it one of the above by avoiding the manteca, but then you don't get the fun of buying manteca from the butcher and grossing out the cashier girl.


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • Flour
  • Milk (maybe a half gallon? It depends.)
  • Optional: a couple cups of broth
  • Mashed garlic
  • One small onion, diced really small
  • 4 cans refried beans (frijoles volteados: I like Ducal brand, a Mexican import. They have red and black bean varieties)
  • Chili powder or ground chiles de arbol
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Cumin
  • Salt
  • about 5 roma tomatoes
  • 2 or 3 avacados
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (You can't get Oaxaqueo cheese easily here: the best I've found is farmer's cheese – something a bit soft and mild, like mozarella)
  • 6 – 10 corn tortillas
  • Manteca! (lard, but manteca is so much more fun to say)


  1. This is how you start any cream soup: melt the butter in the bottom of your soup pot on medium high.
  2. Sautee the garlic and onions in it.
  3. Scoot the onions to the side (or scoop them into another bowl for a minute)
  4. Add flour, whisking until it's almost crumbly, but not quite. If it gets too crumbly, add a little more butter. Cook this roux until it's a golden brown
  5. Turn heat to medium/low
  6. Whisk in the milk/water. For a really creamy soup, add about 6 cups of milk and a few cups of water. You can be pretty flexible with the milk/water ratio, using broth instead of water if you like.
  7. Add the refried beans, one can at a time. Stir it up well, it will thicken as it cooks.
  8. You've gotta keep stirring it so you don't scorch the milk – keeping a low heat will help with this too.
  9. Add chili powder, cayenne, cumin and salt to taste.
  10. Cut the tortillas in half, and then into little strips. Fry them in melted lard (at about medium high) until they're cripsy. Drain them well, and put them in a serving bowl. This step makes your house smell like a melted pig.
  11. Chop up tomatoes and avacados, putting them each in serving bowls.
  12. Serve the soup in a pot with the bowls of tortilla strips, cheese, and vegetables on the side. When people serve themselves, let them add all of these ingredients as they like them. The cheese is the best part.

This recipe was submitted by Annie on January 25, 2005.

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