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Chilied Tortilla Soup w/ Kale


{Say it with me now.}


Yes.  It's true.  For the next six months we will be cooking with my guru.  The master.  The genius behind the best (in my opinion) Mexican food in the world.  The genie I learned so many tricks and methods and secrets to the food that I nourish my family with.  I may be a little excited about this fact.  I won't deny it.  I mean, I've been learning from and cooking with Rick for at least 13 years now, but in the hustle-bustle of normal life, I don't always get to cook with him as much as I'd like to.  But now I have an excuse a reason to spend time with him weekly.  And that makes me happy.  And believe me, it makes whole fam dam happy, as well.  We ♥ Rick.  And I ♥ Cooking Clubs

So. Where to begin?  DUH!  With Tortilla Soup, of course!  You may remember my quest.  And the fact that my personal favorite Tortilla Soup is adapted from a Rick Bayless recipe.  Maybe you're wondering why I haven't posted any more versions since my "results post"?  It's simple really.  I was busy enjoying the best versions of those I tried over the year.  Okay, mostly just my favorite version.  Because I can't get enough.  But now's the time.  I decided that since I had a beautiful bunch of lacinato kale sitting there looking pretty, I'd make a Tortilla Soup recipe of Rick's that I've been meaning to try.  It actually calls for Swiss Chard, but since I'm a lover of kale, I figured it would substitute well.  And it did.  Very well.  Not your typical Tortilla Soup...and not enough to give me a new favorite...but the earthiness of the kale added an unexpected layer of comfort that I enjoyed.  

Chilied Tortilla Soup w/ Kale

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Keywords: simmer soup/stew vegetarian tortillas kale chiles Mexican

Ingredients (serves 4-6)
  • ~1 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • ~1½ oz. pasilla chiles, stemmed & seeded
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 med-large ripe tomato
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thinly
  • 6 c. chicken stock (or use rich vegetable stock to keep vegetarian)
  • salt
  • ~4 c. loosely packed lacinato kale "ribbons"
  • fried corn tortilla strips
  • lime wedges
  • queso fresco, cubed
Use kitchen scissor to cut the chiles into ~1" squares. Heat oil over medium-low and fry chile squares very quickly to toast, ~3-4 seconds. Remove and drain on paper towels immediately. Set ⅔ of the chiles aside to use as garnish (they'll be crunchy -- like chile chips!).

Put remaining ⅓ of chiles in small bowl and cover with hot water. Allow to sit and rehydrate for ~30 minutes. Drain.

While chiles are soaking, roast the unpeeled garlic on an ungreased comal or griddle, over medium heat. Turn occasionally, until blackened in spots and soft, ~15 minutes. Cool a bit and slip off the papery skins.

Roast the tomato on a baking sheet under a broiler until blackened and blistered all around. Cool a bit, then peel. Place the peeled tomato and any collected juices in the jar of a blender along with the garlic and rehydrated chiles. Add 1 cup of the stock/broth and process until smooth.

Heat 1 Tbs. of oil (I use the oil from frying the chiles) in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add onion and sauté until a deep, golden brown, ~10 minutes. Raise the temperature under the pot to medium-high. Pour the mixture in the blender through a strainer and into the pot carefully, being sure to push out as many of the juices as you can. Stir for a while as the mixture thickens and darkens. Mix in the remaining 5 cups of stock/broth (pour it into the blender jar and swirl first to get all of the good stuff out) and simmer uncovered over medium-low for ~30 minutes. Taste and season with salt, if needed.

Add the ribbons of kale to the pot and cook for 5 minutes or so. Ladle into warm bowls to serve and pass the tortilla strips, queso fresco cubes, and fried chiles to garnish as well as the lime wedges for squeezing.

adapted from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen
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