Chipotle Oyster Soup

With a spicy-smoky base, plump oysters and soft-crisp texture from pureed and diced vegetables,this soup will warm the cockles of your heart.
Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: cooked shellfish
Servings: 6
Calories: 156
Author: Pati Jinich


  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes peeled (see NOTES)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large white onion 12 to 14 ounces, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 5 ribs finely chopped celery divided (1 1/2 cups)
  • 5 medium carrots finely chopped carrots, divided (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 large leeks white and light green parts, well-rinsed and finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups), divided
  • 5 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 3 chipotles in adobo finely chopped, plus 1 tablespoon of the sauce
  • 1 dried chile de árbol stemmed and chopped
  • 1 pound shucked oysters 12 to 15 large with their juices
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano preferably Mexican
  • 5 cups shrimp, chicken or vegetable broth
  • Chopped fresh cilantro leaves for serving
  • Lime wedges for serving


  • Preheat the broiler, with the rack 5 to 6 inches from the heat source. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil and place the tomatoes on top. Broil for 10 to 12 minutes, turning the tomatoes halfway through, or until charred and mushy. Remove from the oven. (Alternately, you can roast the tomatoes on a comal or in a large skillet over medium heat, turning them every 4 to 5 minutes, until soft and singed, for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.)
  • When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, finely chop them and transfer to a 1 1/2-quart bowl. Make sure to tip any juices from the baking sheet into the bowl.
  • In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in two-thirds (about 1 cup) of each: celery, carrots and leeks, and cook until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Clear a space in the middle of the pot and add the garlic, chipotles with the adobo sauce and chile de arbol. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute, then mix with the vegetables and cook for 1 more minute.
  • Add the tomatoes, the oyster juices, salt and oregano, bring to a simmer and cook until the mixture thickens a bit, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the broth, bring to a simmer and cook until the color darkens and the soup thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool slightly.
  • Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Wash and dry the pot.
  • If you want a silky texture, place a sieve over the pot and strain the soup through it; otherwise, just return the soup to the pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and add the remaining 1/2 cup of each: celery, carrots and leeks. Simmer until the vegetables are cooked to al dente and the soup is a little thicker, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the shucked oysters and any remaining juices and cook until barely cooked through, about 1 minute. Turn off the heat.
  • Ladle into soup bowls, garnish with the cilantro and offer your guests lime wedges for squeezing in the soup.


NOTE: You can substitute 1 (28-ounce) can of fire-roasted tomatoes for the fresh; skip the broiling step and proceed with the rest of the recipe.
Photo credit: Scott Suchman for The Washington Post
Food Styling by Diana Jeffra for The Washington Post


Calories: 156kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 1087mg | Potassium: 783mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 10492IU | Vitamin C: 39mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 2mg
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