The past year has really flown. Why is the older you get, the faster the time seems to go? I don't know how it is fall already, don't know where October went, and can't believe the Phillies are playing in the World Series...feels like they just won. How was that over a year ago?
I am happy, however, that it is fall as it's my favorite time of year. Sweaters, changing leaves, crisp air, a fire in the fireplace, and the best part, soup. Sure, you can have soup in the middle of the summer if you so desire, but there is something about the change of seasons that makes me crave both cooking and eating soup.
Last week our dog gave me a birthday present (yes, we do that), the cookbook "Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen."Over the past year I have really started to pay attention to this amazing chef, author,and culinary star who is dedicated to introducting America to authentic Mexican foods, my favorite kind of food! I have tried several recipes and loved all of them, had the opportunity to dine in one of his restaurants in Chicago, Frontera Grill, and really enjoyed watching him on Top Chef Masters. So needless to say, I was very excited to flip through my new cookbook. I immediately decided that I need to make every recipe in the book! Everything just looks and sounds THAT good.
I started with a recipe for Roasted Tomato Soup with Poblanos, Oregano, and Fresh Cheese found on page 124 of the book.
The first thing I loved about the recipe was the use of roasted tomatoes. There is something about roasting tomatoes that brings out a much deeper, more intense flavor.
The recipe used poblano peppers, my favorite Mexican pepper. It's such a versatile pepper and can be used in such a variety of recipes. It is good both sauteed and roasted, and always varies in heat - sometimes you'll get a pepper that is completely mild, and other times you'll end up with one that is eye-watering hot.
Finally, the recipe had a short list of ingredients, but from reading it I knew the flavors would be very intense, and they were. I love when you can get such depth of flavors from such a simple list of ingredients. Although the process of roasting and peeling both the tomatoes and peppers took some time, overall this is a very simple recipe in both process and ingredients, but it blew me away with flavor and texture.
The Recipe - The recipe below is Rick's recipe with my use of store-bought broth instead of homemade. I also simplified the wording in the directions, and took out options and just showed what I did. For the complete recipe, see the book (linked above). I recommend that anyone who loves good, authentic Mexican home cooking purchase this book!
- 2 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes
- 6 medium-large) fresh poblano chiles;
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large white onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- 4 cups beef broth (the original recipe recommends 6 cups of homemade beef broth)
- 1 tsp salt, if needed
- Mexican queso fresco
1. Roast the tomatoes. Roast the tomatoes on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until the skins are blackened on one side then flip and broil the other side; this took about 20 minutes total. Cool, then peel, keeping all the juices. Puree the tomatoes in their juices to a rough puree.
2. Roast the Poblanos. Roast the poblanos 4 inches below a very hot broiler, turning occasionally until blackened on all sides; this took about 12 minutes. Cover with a kitchen towel and let stand 5 minutes. Peel, pull out the stem and seeds, then rinse to remove any seeds. Slice into 1/4 inch wide strips.
3. Start the soup. In a medium size pot, heat the oil over medium to medium-high, then add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano, toss a minute longer, then stir in the roasted poblanos to heat.
3. Finishing the soup. Add the tomato puree to the pot and cook over medium-high, stirring frequently, until thickened and reduced, about 7 minutes. Stir in the broth, partially cover and simmer over medium-low for 30 minutes. Season with salt, if needed.
Serve the soup topped with some of the crumbled cheese.