Recipe Reviews: Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless

Friday, February 17, 2006

Classic Tortilla Soup with All the Trimmings Review

4 stars (on a 5 star scale)
p. 123-126

Quite good.

The soup feels as if it lacks substance. The tortilla chips, slightly broken, complement it very well in texture and substance and make up some missing substance. The avocado doesn't add much (if anything). The cheese adds a nice flavor but ends up making little gooey chunks as it melts in the soup; that can be odd. (I'm not sure if I like it.) Together both do add some richness to the dish. I didn't bother with the lime; it didn't feel necessary. In any case, the soup should probably be made with more chicken than the 1.25 pounds the recipe calls for.

I mistakenly cooked the chicken separately and then added to soup. Upon re-reading the recipe, one simply cubes the chicken and boils it with the soup.

When it says to stir the puree constantly while the sauce boils down, listen! The issue is not with burning the sauce or anything but rather the viscosity of the sauce causes the bubbles to explode when boiling, sending juices well over the top of a very high-sided pot and making a mess. Stirring constantly decreases this effect.


  • I've enjoyed your blog very much as I, too, cook my way through every recipe in Mexican Everyday.

    The simple solution to your tortilla soup effort lacking substance is cooking the chicken in the pot as directed. It's fairly common practice when making soup!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:42 AM  

  • As you're also cooking your way through Mexican Everyday, please feel free to leave comments on other recipes in this blog. It may help you organize your thoughts and reactions, just as it has helped me.

    By Blogger mark, at 11:29 AM  

  • I also think that if you had followed the recipe - maybe your outcome and your review would have been much more better. I am big fan of lime and adding just a squeeze to i.e. chicken soup or tortilla makes all the difference. JMHO...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:14 AM  

  • So glad I found this blog!! I recently picked up this cookbook.

    I loved the flavor of this soup, but I agree that it was lacking a bit in substance. The broth was incredibly flavorful, but I would have liked more than chicken chunks and avocado. Maybe some chunks of veggies?

    By Blogger Erica, at 7:15 PM  

  • I made this tonight (just got the book in the mail today!), and I agree the soup lacks a bit of substance. Actually a couple of squeezes of lime right into the bowl before serving does really help!

    Thanks for creating this blog! I plan to visit it often!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:23 PM  

  • This is one of my go-to soups, I make the whole recipe and it lasts me and my husband for 3 servings....usually the last serving, we add spinach spaghetti to make it more substantial....perhaps if you want the soup to have more substance, you might want to add noodles of some kind. Other wise, we usually get quite full on a single serving and this soup converted my husband from hating soups (because he'd only ever had bland, processed soups) to being a soup fan. It's done the same for me, too!

    By Blogger J., at 8:56 AM  

  • I tried making this soup last night for the first time! We had no tortilla chips or avocado so I added some sauteed button mushrooms with the "chicken" (my husband is vegetarian so I used fake chicken.) I found the soup to be absolutely delicious (especially considering how easy it was to make.) We added a squeeze of lime, fresh cilantro and a sprinkling of queso fresco at the end (which did not melt as much as other cheeses.) Next time I make a Rick Bayless recipe I'll have to check your blog!

    By Blogger flutterbyblue, at 10:11 AM  

  • sometimes a hearty squeeze of lime makes all the difference.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:23 PM  

  • A lot of cooks I know complained about Rick's recipes in his first book,saying they were to fussy. Mexican Everyday is way dumbed down for those complainers. You take it one step further, for instance, not adding lime. You have succeeded in making Mexican Betty Crocker style.

    By Anonymous BernieCrocker, at 3:23 PM  

  • have you ever been to Mexico and tasted this soup 'authentically'. Every family makes it a little differently. As to leaving out the 'limon' because you didn't think it needed it??? How crazy is that? In Mexico limes are everywhere in everything and YES they do make a difference in flavour.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:56 AM  

  • Tortilla soup at our house is often the end of a whole chicken, carcass cooked down & strained, with some cooked chicken added. It also may have some leftover beans or rice, or some corn. (This is a speedy version!)
    And, of course, Mexican oregano, cumin, garlic & onion...cilantro if I have some. Some tomato-based salsa stirred in for added flavor, or a selection of powdered chili until the balance is right.
    I toast thin strips of corn tortillas, sometimes also seasoning them. Readymade tortillas chips only in desperation. We also like a bit of grated cheese, and chunks of avocado added at the end.
    This is never exactly the same twice - what makes it fun is trying different combinations of ingredients.

    By Anonymous Gail, at 1:45 PM  

  • Where can i find this recipe?! i cant seem to find it sorry

    thank you

    By Anonymous Becca, at 1:44 PM  

  • @Becca,

    If you e-mail me, I will mail it to you.

    By Blogger mark, at 1:49 PM  

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