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Dean Fearing is known for his magnificent Southwestern cuisine. His restaurant Fearing’s, located in the Ritz Carlton, is the perfect spot for Texas food lovers. The menu boasts barbecued shrimp tacos, Dr Pepper braised Rosewood Ranch short ribs and of course one of their signature dishes, Tortilla Soup. “My version is based on the traditional Mexican soup that I experienced in Mexico which is nothing more than a highly seasoned chicken broth thickened with tortillas,” says Fearing.
When I first read the recipe, it was a bit intimidating. But it is actually incredibly doable for the at-home cook with little preparation and just a couple of small kitchen appliances. I also made a few ingredient substitutions that shave off some time.
Fearing’s Tortilla Soup
Inspired by chef and owner, Dean Fearing
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 corn tortillas, cut into long strips
4 tsp chopped garlic (I used the pre chopped garlic)
2 cups fresh onion puree, see note 1 on how to prepare
4 cups tomato puree (the original recipe calls for fresh but I used canned)
5 dried Ancho chilies, fire roasted and seeded, see note 2 on how to prepare
2 jalapeños, chopped
1 Tbsp cumin powder
1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp ground coriander
1 large bay leaf
6 cups chicken stock
Salt to taste
Lemon to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
1 smoked chicken breast diced small (I used part of a rotisserie chicken)
1 large avocado, peeled and diced
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 Tbsp green cabbage, diced
3 Tbsp red radish, diced
Tortilla strips (can be purchased near the croutons at most stores)
Note 1: Purée 3 medium peeled onions in a food processor fitted with a metal blade to make fresh onion purée.
Note 2: Cook chilies for about 2-3 minutes in a 400 degree oven. When cooled, remove seeds and stem.
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add tortillas and garlic and saute until tortillas are crisp and garlic is golden brown, about 4-5 minutes.
2. Add onion puree and cook for about 5 minutes.
3. Add tomato puree, roasted chilies, jalapeños, cumin, coriander, cilantro, bay leaf and chicken stock.
4. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for approximately 40 minutes.
5. Skim fat from surface, if necessary and remove bay leaf.
6. Process through a blender or food processor to attain the perfect consistency. Thin out with additional chicken stock, if needed.
7. Season to taste with salt, lemon and cayenne.
8. Garnish each bowl of warm soup with smoked chicken, avocado, shredded cheese, green cabbage, red radish, and corn tortillas.
*Fearing’s prepares each bowl with the garnishes first and then ladles the tortilla soup over it.
You can find the original Tortilla Soup recipe and many more in Dean’s cookbook, The Texas Food Bible.