On a Soup and a Book


On a Soup and a Book

It is partly because of a soup like this, that I want to write a cookbook.

A soup that makes me feel all warm inside when I spoon it into my mouth.

A soup that has the earthiness and simplicity that grounds me.

A soup that, aside from having a comforting base, has layers of surprising life and color and crunch.

A soup that makes me want to eat nothing else for an entire week.

A soup that speaks of centennial traditions and is passed down through generations recipes.

A soup that is a pleasure to think about, to write about, to talk about, to prepare and to savor.

It is mostly because I want to share a soup like this with you, dear friends, that I am jumping to write this cookbook.

So with great news to share: I will be working with the delightful Rux Martin, editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, to make this cookbook come to life.

In this book, I will write about -and tell you how to make- all of those foods that make me want to scream out of joy, along with the stories that revolve around them.

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So here you go, for this Fall season, which has already galloped in front of me as I was barely putting away my monsters’ bathing suits: The Sopa Tarasca. One of my favorite soups in the whole entire world.

As with many Mexican dishes, it has a base of tomato, onion and a bit of garlic.

Tarascan Soup 2
But it also has the addition of the prune like, exuberant flavor of the Ancho chile.

After those ingredients are cooked, pureed and seasoned, they are mixed with a bean puree

Tarascan Soup 3
and chicken broth…

Queso Fresco A1-thumb-510x342-1933
As if that earth shattering base wasn’t enough, this soup is garnished, to your liking with Queso Fresco

Tarascan Soup 5
Tortilla crisps.

Tarascan Soup 6
Ripe Mexican avocado chunks…

Tarascan Soup 7
And the tangy and salty notes from Mexican cream

Of course you can toss in some Chile crisps in there too…

Tarascan Soup 8
From the Purépechas -also known as Tarascos- who inhabit the mountainous regions of the soulful state of Michoacán, and after whom this soup was named in its colonial capital of Morelia where I have eaten it one too many times, to the city of Washington DC in the United States of America, where I make it regularly for my Mexican American family: and hopefully it will find a place at your table too.

I lost my breath in that sentence…


p.s. If you have any Mexican food craving, just name the dish, I will try to make a page for it in that cookbook.

Tarascan Bean and Tomato Soup

Sopa Tarasca
6 to 8 servings
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: ancho chiles, beans, chile, corn tortillas, cotija cheese, garlic, mexican crema, onion, pati's mexican table, queso fresco, Recipe, refried beans, soup, Tomatoes, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
So here you go, for this Fall season, which has already galloped in front of me as I was barely putting away my monsters’ bathing suits: The Sopa Tarasca. One of my favorite soups in the whole entire world. As with many Mexican dishes, it has a base of tomato, onion and a bit of garlic.


For the soup:

  • 6 cups of bean puree
  • 1 pound ripe plum or roma tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 ancho chile, steam and seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup white onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons safflower or corn oil
  • 3 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth or water

For the garnishes:

  • 4 Corn tortillas, cut in half and into strips, fried until lightly golden or toasted
  • 1/2 cup cotija or queso fresco cheese, crumbled (farmers cheese, ricotta salata, mild feta or shredded mozzarella cheese may be substituted)
  • 1/2 cup fresh Mexican cream, heavy cream or cream fraiche may by substituted
  • 1 ancho chile, stem and seeds removed, cut into thin strips, flash fried (optional)
  • 1 Mexican avocado, peeled, seeded, flesh scooped out and diced

To Prepare

  • Place the tomatoes, garlic, and the seeded and stemmed ancho chile in a saucepan, cover with water and simmer over medium-high heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until tomatoes are completely cooked through. Once the tomato mix cools down, place it in a blender or food processor with a cup of the cooking liquid, the raw white onion and a teaspoon of the salt; puree until smooth.
  • Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the tomato puree and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it darkens in color and thickens in consistency. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the bean puree and broth or water, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the soup has seasoned and has a creamy consistency. Taste for salt and add more if needed. Turn off the heat as it thickens quickly.
  • The soup without the added garnishes may be cooled and stored in a closed container and refrigerated for up to 4 days. Since it thickens a bit as it cools, you may need to add some chicken broth or water to thin it out when you reheat it.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle on top a tablespoon each of cream and cheese, a handful of tortilla strips, a few fried chile strips and some diced avocado. You can also place garnishes in bowls on the table to let your guests garnish to their liking.

167 comments on “On a Soup and a Book

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  1. I made this soup today Its awesome! as I have a bit of the flu and its been raining and windy, great soup now I going to make this everytime the weather is like this and stay inside nice and toasty

  2. Dear Pati,
    It has been raining and blowing for days her, AND I’m getting over bronchitis. So your bean and tomato soup is on the menu for me and my husband tonight. Thanks so much for this lovely comfort food.

    All our best, Mary and Tony

  3. This is the most amazing soup!!! I really did want nothing else for a week! It’s so comforting. I got my children to eat it easily with the trick of putting all the extras in little bowls in the center of the table for them to top their soups themselves. They loved it. I’ll make this often. Thank you!