ROASTED TOMATO SOUP WITH RAJAS AND QUESO FRESCO (for four)
1 pound tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium white onion, halved lengthwise and cut lengthwise into ¼ inch thick slices
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
½ teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
½ pound poblano chiles (3 medium large), roasted (preheat a broiler, put the chiles on the rack of a broiler pan and broil about 2 inches from the heat, turning them frequently, until the skins are blistered and charred, about 5 minutes. Transfer chiles to a bowl, cover it and let them stand until they are cool enough to handle. Peel them, cut off the stems and remove and discard the seeds and ribs.) and cut into thin strips
4 cups beef stock or store bought broth
¼ pound queso fresco (Mexican fresh white cheese) or salted farmer cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes (1 cup)
1.Preheat the broiler. Broil the tomatoes in a shallow baking pan about 4 inches from the heat until blackened on top, about 6 minutes. Turn tomatoes and broil until blackened on bottom. Cool.
2. Peel tomatoes over a bowl to catch the juices. Transfer tomatoes and juice to a blender or food processor and blend until coarsely pureed.
3. Heat oil in a 3 quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Add onion and cook stirring occasionally, until browned at the edges but still firm, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and oregano and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the chiles and cook, stirring occasionally, until hot. Add tomato puree and simmer, stirring frequently, until very thick, about 7 minutes.
4. Stir in the stock and bring to a boil. Boil, uncovered, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Season soup with salt. Divide among four bowls and scatter cheese over the top.
from Rick Bayless, chef-owner of the Frontera Grill in Chicago, printed in The Gourmet Cookbook