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Rick Bayless's Red Chile Seafood Soup

  • Servings: 6


  • 2 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
  • 3 dried guajillo chiles (about 3/4 ounce), stemmed, seeded, and torn into large pieces
  • 15 ounces diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
  • 1 large white onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 6 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken, or fish broth
  • 4 medium red-skin boiling potatoes, or Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 pound), cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 large sprigs fresh epazote, optional
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded, or 2 clams, scrubbed
  • 1 pound fish fillets, such as halibut, mahi-mahi, or catfish, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • 1 lime, cut into 6 wedges, for serving


  1. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add chiles; saute, being careful not to overtoast chiles, until aromatic and they have changed color slightly, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chiles to a blender jar; add tomatoes and their juice to blender jar.

  2. Add 2/3 of the onion and all the garlic to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until golden, about 7 minutes. Transfer remaining onion to a strainer, and rinse under cold water; reserve for garnish. Using the same slotted spoon, transfer onions and garlic to blender; process until smooth.

  3. Set a medium-mesh strainer over pot; using a wooden spoon, press tomato mixture through. Return pot to medium-high heat; cook, stirring frequently, until reduced and thick, about 6 minutes. Add broth, potatoes and epazote, if using; when mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Season with salt.

  4. Just before serving, increase heat to medium-high; add mussels and fish. Boil briskly until shells have opened, about 4 minutes.

  5. To serve, ladle into large bowls. Sprinkle generously with cilantro and reserved onion. Serve immediately with limes.

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