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.

for tomato and bean soup-thumb-510x342-1527

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!

  4. Greetings from Idaho! I’m bored to death at
    work so I decided to browse your website on my
    iphone during lunch break. I love the information you provide
    here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m shocked at how fast your blog loaded on my phone ..
    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, awesome blog!

  5. I just want to tell you that I am all new to blogging and really liked this web-site. Likely I’m likely to bookmark your site . You certainly come with very good writings. With thanks for revealing your blog site.

  6. Congratulations on your cookbook. I’d love to buy it as soon as possible. One of my favorite mexican soups is “Cuachala” from Tuxpan Jalisco. It is delicious and one of my favorites. thank you!

  7. que emocion!! la anticipacion me mata…would you mind if i blogged as i cook my way through your book? I would love to share it with my readers 🙂 of course todo el credito para ti!!
    seria un plazer hacerlo. Y una oportunidad de aprender de la mejor :0)

    1. Hola Berta¡
      Absolutely. I would be delighted if you blogged as you cooked your way through it! It is almost out.

  8. I just saw online that your cookbook is available for pre-order on Amazon!!! 🙂 I am so excited! I tried your avocado ice cream and your recipe for avocado and steak sandwiches. My kids loved both! I can’t wait to have a book!! I hope those recipes are in there, but if not I have them bookmarked.

    1. Si!!! It is!! So happy you found it, I need to add the links to my site… this summer completely unraveled before my eyes. I hope you enjoy it Jennifer!!!

  9. Pati, I just stumbled upon your TV show this week. You have a new fan! You are so charming and enthusiastic, and your recipes look and sound wonderful. I love Mexican food but like many (most?) people, I have not been very familiar with truly authentic Mexican food. I’m so glad to see you are coming out with a cookbook. I will look forward to getting a copy when it comes out!

  10. estoy viendo tu programa y me gustan tus recetas,estoy muy interesada en comprar tu libro de recetas,tambien mire que en el 2010 te preguntaban por el,espero que para estas fechas ya lo tengas terminado,por favor avisame., gracias.

  11. Hola Pati. I’m also of Mexican descent and my mother who passed away several years ago never wrote down her recipes and I never observed how to make them. It’s one of my biggest regrets! Your recipes are similar to my mom’s cooking & I can’t wait for your cookbook. How do I get a signed copy?
    Gratefully yours,

    1. Hola Vero, I am honored I am able to remind you of your mother and your mother’s cooking! As soon as I receive the release date for my cookbook, I will let you know and also how to get a signed copy 🙂

  12. Please, please, please hurry and release the book! My mother grew up in Guadalajara (proudly “Jaliciense!”) but unfortunately was not able to keep cooking Mexican food when she moved here nor was she able to bring any cookbooks–although most of her knowledge was passed on from mi abuelita and not written down. Your recipes are the closest to hers and I would love to have your cookbook! Is there an email list to notify us when it will be released?
    Que Dios te Bendiga y La Virgen de Guadalupe te Quide!

    1. Hola Elena, Thank you so much for your comment! I will add you to the email list and keep you updated on the book! 🙂

  13. Hi Pati,
    I see your show on PBS in La Mirada, California. My father was from Cuiadad de Maiz in San Luis Potosi. From that area they made these enchiladas that were very different from the ones I order in the Los Angeles area. They looked like small tacos, but they redness came from the actual masa where chili was directly added to the masa. In the enchilada the filling was made of potatoes and carrots and the enchilada/tortilla was fried. Toppings were cabbage and queso fresco. Typically you would eat the enchiladas with a fried piece of salted meat, kind of like beef jerky. I would love to have this recipe, so that I can make it at home.

  14. Hola Pati,
    I submitted a comment, but perhaps I clicked the wrong button. Anyway, I just wanted to say that although I am new to your site and to you, I am fast becoming a fan!! I caught your appearance on “The Chew” yesterday, and I am anxious to see more of your recipes. I am going to write in to our local PBS station to try to influence them into obtaining your show. I was reading your heartfelt words about what food means to you and you made me cry. I thought of my beautiful mother, Lupe and how much she enjoyed cooking for her family. She was a wonderful cook who didn’t cook from recipes until late in life. She became a fan of many cooking shows and would write down a recipe that caught her eye. It has been six years since she passed and I still come across the slips of paper where she jotted down something that she would make, she became fearless in trying new recipes, techniques and ingredients…and this was when she was in her 80’s. She would kill me for telling her age!! Please keep telling a story with your recipes! Anxiously awaiting your cookbook… Linde

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely thoughtful comment Linde!! Your mother sounds like a wonderful cook and am honored that I was able to remind you of her! If you have any requests, please let me know 🙂

  15. I really enjoy watching you on CreateTV and so happy that there are now 2 gurus (you and Rick Bayless). Both of you have expanded, and honor, the breadth of taste and traditions of Mexican flavors. I’m a baby boomer with ancestral roots of Spanish and French. Those dear souls of the previous generation are nearly all gone. Now,as a 3rd generation Mexican-American, I am trying to remember and re-create the methods, tastes, and aromas from the kitchens of my mother, grandmother and great aunts. One of the best compliments my sons gave me was on a day they came for supper and said, “Wow, Mom, it smells good, just like Grandma’s!” Thank you, Pati, for helping me expand and recreate Mexican flavors and memories in my kitchen.

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely message! I am so glad I can help you go back to your roots and recreate the traditions of your family’s Mexican cooking. Glad your son enjoys it too! 🙂

  16. Hola Pati. Me encanta tu programa y gracias a tus recetas me he ganado muchas felicitaciones en mi casa. No sabes lo que es querer cocinar algun platillo y no saber que y cual ingrediente se le pone. Nada me haria mas feliz que tener tu libro en mi casa. Donde lo consigo? Felicitaciones y te veo en la tele mi Paty.

  17. Hi Pati,
    I adore your show, which I just discovered and I am bookmarking recipes from your blog like mad. Starting with Sweet Potato Salad with Chorizo and might serve it for breakfast with scrambled eggs on the side because I just can’t wait to try it. 🙂
    Really looking forward to your book’s publication. You have to come to Chicago as part of your book signing tour.
    Be well.

  18. Hola, Pati! Thank you for your wonderful TV program and for the great variety of dishes that are so appealing. Today, I watched one of your episodes in which you prepared fideos in tomato sauce. Oh, my goodness…that took me back to the ’50s when my mother would prepare sopa de fideos. To this day, I can clearly remember the smell of the fideos cooking. I am so excited for the release of your cookbook. Please reserve a couple of signed copies for me. I can hardly wait; know it will be wonderful.

    1. So glad I could bring back some memories of your mother’s cooking Linda! Yes, you can reserve a few signed copies as soon as it comes out. I will keep you updated on the release date!

    1. Hola Kim, The cookbook will be out sometime early 2013. The manuscript is finished and it is just waiting production. I will keep you updated!

  19. Hi Pati,
    I have eaten a soup similar like this but it did not have beans. What can I used to substitute the beans since I’m allergic to them?
    Love your show and look forward to try your recipes.

    1. Hola Mari, This recipe works well with any type of bean. Are you allergic to all beans? Fava beans? Let me know, and I can adjust and make recommendations accordingly!

  20. I am originally from Texas and grew up on food and flavors that I really miss. It was great to find your show so that I can create all of these dishes anytime I want. Your techniques and recipes are easy to follow. One of my favorites is simply carne asada and fresh tortillas. I have been looking for a resource for authentic mexican cuisine and now I found it! Gracias para tu regalo 🙂

  21. I love your cooking show & watch it as much as I can. In your cookbook,I hope you list a recipe for creamy-cheezy corn chowder. Please let me know once your cookbook is published. I certainly want a signed copy!

  22. Hola, Pati:
    I truly enjoy your tv program and reserve that time slot just for you (I don’t even answer my phone!). I think the best part of the program is the authenticity of the recipes and how easy you make them to follow. So, when is the cookbook coming out? I had hoped I would be able to purchase one before Christmas, as a gift for my daughter. She’s recovering from breast cancer right now, and to keep herself busy until she can return to work, she’s learning to cook, and your program is one of her favorites.
    The only criticism I have about the program is that the music is sometimes so loud that I can’t hear what you’re saying. Maybe it could be toned down a tad?
    Thank you for such a fun program.
    Cactus Pena

    1. Hola Cactus Pena, Thank you so much for watching my show! I am so happy you enjoy the recipes. I am so sorry, the cookbook is not out yet. The good news is that the manuscript is finished and it should be out in the next year or so. Cactus, I also want to thank you so much for your comments about the music. We will make sure to tone it down in the next season. Please, give my best to your daughter! I am adding as many recipes as I can on my blog, so please share them with her! 🙂

  23. Pati,
    I just tried this recipe and loved it, the flavors melt together and the taste is so, so good.
    I can hardly wait for your recipe book to come out and would love to have an autographed copy.
    I also love your cooking show and you only make it better !
    I will be trying other recipes from your show and know they will be outstanding.
    I love you, your show and recipes, keep up the great job you are doing.
    Linda C.

  24. Wow – what a fantastic website! I live in Texas and love Mexican food…this blog has inspired me already and I just stumbled upon it! Thanks for sharing your recipes.

  25. I just discovered your show and blog today, I can’t wait to make my own floating islands! I need to get a copy of your book so I can try to cook authentic mexican for my husband, his mother is from Jalisco and makes so much delicious pozole, tostadas and menudo, not to mention the best retried beans Ive ever had. We dont live near her anymore, so he misses her cooking. Any helpful tips on getting the beans right would be appreciated!

  26. Hola Pati, parece que tu libro tendrá que ser muy grande para acomodar todas las recetas que te piden! Acabamos de descubrirte en el canal Create, ya era hora de que una mexicana tuviera su programa de cocina. Me encanta porque me traes memorias de la infancia de las que ya no me acordaba, como los garibaldis! Muchas gracias por compartir tus recetas con nosotros, ayer probamos el pollo con tomates verdes y chipotle y nos encanto! Ya tenemos pensado hacer el tepache. Muchas felicidades por tu programa, te deseamos lo mejor y cuando pasemos por dc (vivimos en ny) te vamos a buscar en una de tus clases y por supuesto compraremos el libro. Suerte!

    1. Hola Emilia,
      Muchas gracias por tu comentario! Que bueno que les han quedado ricas las recetas y si!!!! cuando esten por DC, vengan a las clases. Cualquier antojo que tengas, pideme, y con mucho gusto hago in post y pongo la receta.
      Saludos por alla en NY!!!

      1. Ay Pati, te vamos a ir a conocer para el pozole y el ponche de diciembre ya estamos planeando el viaje. Me encantaría una receta de tamales canarios, unos que son con harina de arroz, siempre me quedan secos como galletas y los que he probado en Toluca siempre son todo lo contrario y quiero que mi esposo los pruebe como deben ser, lol, gracias por contestarme y te seguimos mandando buenas vibras :).

  27. I have just discovered your show and website. I love it! I can hardly wait for your cookbook. One of my favorite dishes is the grilled pork, chicken & or steak on a clay pot. It usually has a small container of melted cheese in the middle. If you could include a recipe for this I would love it and so would my husband.
    Thank You

  28. Hola Pati,
    I love your authentic Mexican cooking amiga! Atole de Arroz Con Canela, ‘Empanada de Calabaza’, ‘Gorditas’Tortillas de Azucar, ‘Pan de Maiz’, ‘Caldo de Rez’, ‘Machito de Chivo’, and homemade Corn/Flour Tortillas off a hot grill (comal) are amongst my favorites growing up as 1 of 9 siblings, and our parents w/ lots of relatives from Monterrey, N.L., Mexico. Most of us were born in Mexico, but raised in ‘el valle’/Hidalgo County/Weslaco, Texas!
    Thanks for ALL you do,
    Emma Vela Benavides
    PS: The kitchen is the ‘heart of our home’ in our Mexican heritage, and our legacy is our children learning our recipes, and passing on the traditions.

  29. Hi Pati!
    Love your show! Excitedly waiting for your book so i can throw away all my paper copies of the recipes. Keep using dried and fresh chilis and not chili powder. Almost everything authentic is available in stores or “tienditas” these days. PLEASE include a pozole verde recipe using pork; been looking for a good one for a long time. Thanks for a great show!

      1. Muchas gracias Pati por tu receta de pozole verde! Es muy delicioso!! You have earned many fans with your great cooking show and recipes! I was wondering if you have ever made chilis rellenos with jalepeno peppers? very different from anything i have ever seen in any “mexican” cookbook. Many of my friends are from Vera Cruz, and so it may be a dish that is specific to that area. Anyway, thank you for your generousity and sweet way! Cuidete mucho!

        1. Thank you very much for your sweet message Joyce! Yes I have stuffed jalapeños and they can be scrumptious! Will try to get it here soon…

  30. I just happened to catch your pbs program and fell in love with the subject matter. My grandmother was from Michoacan and as a kid enjoyed her cooking as well as my grandfather who was from Jalisco. Unfortunately I never got around to writing down recipes as they always made everything from scratch and from memory. She would make tortillas for my friends who loved the real Mexican food, and ask how many tortillas do you want. She would proceed to pour flour out of the bag(not measuring) along with the other ingredients and she would have the just the right amount of masa for the number of tortillas. Her older brother owned three restaurants in Fresno CA and was equally good in the kitchen. Your program does bring back alot of good memories, but would like to know where can I buy your book?
    Thank you.

    1. Hola John,
      What a lovely message. I am so glad my recipes are able to take you back to such wonderful memories. I have a cookbook coming out in 2012. If you join my email update list, you will receive updates about the release date. 🙂

  31. I have been watching your show on Create & love it! I spent a couple of summers in Mexico & I had the good fortune to enjoy delicious local flavor meals prepared by the people of the church where we were doing some volunteer work. I can’t wait for the book!

  32. Hola from El Paso!!!
    I recently found your show and am now addicted to your show..I have always been very intimidated by Mexican food…I was never able to learn from my Mom or my beloved Abuelita…I cannot wait for your book to come out!!! Please hurry!!! Thank you for your wonderful recipes!!

  33. Hi Pati,
    I accidently saw your show today at WHYY and loved it. We are vegetarian family and enjoy Mexican food. I generally cook Indian food but love experiment with different cuisine and Indian spices. I would love to get a copy of your book. But not sure how to place an order. Is it published yet? Keep up the good work. Looking forward to seeing your shows. Give me great ideas for new dishes.

    1. Hi Rajat, Thank you so much for watching and inquiring about the book. I am actually working on it now, and it should be out in 2012. Please keep following the site for updates! I hope you continue to enjoy the show 🙂

      1. Thank you for your response. Can’t wait for your book. If you are looking for ideas for your book, here is one – include lots of vegetarian dishes.

    1. This is music to my ears! Thank you SO much for your support. Please keep checking the site for updates. The cookbook should be out in 2012!

  34. Hi Pati,
    I must say that I absolutely love your show and website! I am Mexican American, and I am just now learning a bit about my culinary roots. Pretty soon I’ll be marrying my lovely güerito, and I would love to delight him and the rest of his midwestern family with Mexican food and history as rich and authentic as yours! I cannot wait for your cookbook, and congratulations on your truly one-of-a-kind work! Would love it if you could include tacos de carne deshebrada. 🙂
    Un abrazo,
    Valeria en Texas

  35. Hola Pati, my daughter ankd me watched your show for the first time yesterday and we loved it. I am not a good cook but you have inspired me to try the recipies. The food looked delicious and your stories and explanations are entertaing and informative. Congratulations and thank you!

    1. Hola Elizabeth, I think you must give yourself more credit! I am so happy that both you and your daughter enjoyed the show. I hope you continue to watch, and would love to hear about your great success in the kitchen!! 🙂

  36. I just saw you on TV and I just browsed around this lovely website and I am very impressed. I can’t wait for the cookbook to be out. I hope I can order it from Canada. I loved this recipe and would love to see a recipe for a Tortilla Soup.
    Felicidades x tu exito.