fine food - Chef Dean Fearing

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Dean Fearing is chef and partner at Fearing’s Restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas. Current menu highlights include his flavourful Tortilla Soup, which you can recreate at home using his recipe.


Creator of the award-winning Fearing’s Restaurant in Dallas, and author of The Texas Food Bible, Chef Dean Fearing grew up with grandmothers who appreciated the finer details of Southern cooking and barbecue, and he still uses and treasures their recipes. He is also known to spend his spare time searching the countryside for Texas culinary inspiration.

Since opening in 2007, Fearing’s has been named Restaurant of the Year and Table of the Year by Esquire Magazine, as well as .1 in Hotel Dining in the US by the prestigious Zagat Survey.

Chef Fearing has won the James Beard Foundation Restaurant Award for Best Chef in the Southwest, and diners from across the country flock to the city to experience his signature dishes.

Dean’s Tortilla Soup with South of the Border Flavours


Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add tortillas and garlic and sauté until tortillas are crisp and garlic is golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add onion purée and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until reduced by half. Add tomato purée, roasted chillies, jalapeños, cumin, coriander, epazote, and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for approximately 40 minutes. Skim fat from surface, if necessary. Process through a food mill to attain the perfect consistency or use a blender (soup may become thick: thin out with additional chicken stock). Season to taste with salt, lemon, and cayenne.

Ingredients - Serves 4

  • 3 tbsp olive oil  
  • 4 corn tortillas, cut into long strips  
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled   
  • 2 cups fresh onion purée 
  • 4 cups fresh tomato purée  
  • 5 dried ancho chillies, fire roasted and seeded (see Note 1)   
  • 2 jalapeños, chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp epazote, chopped (or 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander) 
  • 1 tsp coriander, ground
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 quarts (1.4 litres) chicken stock
  • Salt to taste
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1 smoked chicken breast, skinless, boneless, and diced small
  • 1 large avocado, peeled, seeded,
  • and cut into small cubes
  • cup shredded Boyacá
  • (Latin Cheddar) cheese
  • 4 tbsp green cabbage, small dice
  • 3 tbsp red radish, small dice
  • 1 tbsp jalapeño pepper, seeded & minced
  • 4 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips & fried crisp

Note 1
Using a pair of kitchen tongs, hold each chilli directly over an open flame. Lightly roast each chilli, on all sides, for about 30 to 45 seconds. (Be careful not to blacken or burn chillies.) When chillies are cool, remove seeds and stem. This same process can be done in a preheated 200C/400F oven. Cook chillies for about 2 to 3 minutes.

Garnish each warm soup bowl with smoked chicken breast, avocado, shredded Boyacá (Latin Cheddar) cheese, green cabbage, red radish, jalapeño pepper, and corn tortillas.  Ladle Tortilla Soup over the garnish. Serve immediately.

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