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Their Recipes, Your Kitchen: Straight from Chicago’s Chefs

Chicken Tortilla Soup from Tatas Tacos {4929 West Irving Park Road, Chicago; 773.685.6002}

serves 12


For the soup:

  • 1/4 c corn oil
  • 1/4 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium jalapeño peppers, sliced, seeds included
  • 12 c tomato juice4 c chicken stock
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper

For the garnish:

  • 1/2 c pulled chicken or diced grilled chicken, cold
  • 2 Tbsp shredded Chihuahua cheese
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, sliced into rounds
  • 1 lime wedge
  • tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips to serve


In a large pot, add corn oil. Sauté the onions, garlic, and jalapeños over medium heat until soft and translucent. Add tomato juice and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Purée ingredients using a blender. Add chicken stock and return to heat. Bring to a boil and season with the cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Ladle into a bowl, then top with chicken and cheese. Garnish with tortilla strips or chips, jalapeño slices, and a lime wedge.

Mayan Hummus (Sikil Pak) from Centre Street Kitchen {1224 West Webster Avenue, Chicago; 312.815.1917}

makes about 3-1/2 cups


  • 1-1/2 c pepitas
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 plum tomatoes, charred
  • 2-3 tomatillos, charred
  • 1-2 serrano chiles, stemmed and charred
  • 2 Tbsp chives, minced
  • 1/2 c cilantro, chiffonade
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp orange juice, fresh
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice, fresh
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, to taste

To Serve

  • 1 tsp cilantro, chiffonade
  • fried tortilla chips
  • grilled broccoli spears
  • carrots
  • celery
  • cucumbers
  • radishes
  • red peppers


Preheat a grill. In a dry skillet over medium heat, add pumpkin seeds and begin toasting on the stove. Stir or flip frequently to avoid scorching. Cook until golden and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and place the seeds in a food processor. Once the grill is hot, add tomatoes, tomatillos, and serrano peppers. Char until blackened on all sides. Remove and place in the food processor. Run the food processor until the seeds and vegetables are well blended but still slightly chunky. Add the remaining ingredients and blend again until everything is well combined. Check seasoning and adjust with more salt, if needed. Place the dip in a serving bowl and sprinkle the top with the chiffonade of cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips, broccoli, carrots, celery, cucumbers, radishes, and red peppers.

Lump Crab Benedict with Chili-Chive-Hollandaise from Batter & Berries {2748 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago; 773.248.7710}

serves six


For the cakes:

16 oz premium lump crab
2 oz mayonnaise
2 Tbsp Creole mustard
1 Tbsp chives
1 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1/4 Tbsp ground black pepper
1/4 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1/4 Tbsp ground fennel
1 Tbsp lemon zest
2 oz brioche breadcrumbs
4 oz panko breadcrumbs
2 oz clarified butter
sea salt

For the sauce:

8 oz melted butter
2 egg yolks
1 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp water, as needed
1/4 tsp ancho chile flakes
1 oz chives, chopped
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 tsp kosher salt

To Serve

8 poached eggs
chives to garnish


For the cakes: Drain crabmeat and check for shells. In a medium bowl, add crab, spices, herbs, mayo, and mustard. Mix just until combined. Add brioche breadcrumbs to reduce excess moisture. Season to taste with salt, then place panko breadcrumbs into a 9×12-inch baking dish. Using a 2.5-ounce portion scoop, portion out crab mix into even balls and place into the dish. Pat down until evenly coated and approximately 1/2-inch thick. Flip cakes and pat again until the other side is coated.

For the sauce: In a stainless steel bowl, whisk egg yolks, lemon juice, half of the water, and cayenne until frothy. Bring a medium-sized pot filled with water to a boil. Place the bowl over the pot and continue whisking until ribbons form. Remove bowl from heat and begin whisking in melted butter in a steady stream until all combined. Add chives and remaining spices.

To finish: In a skillet over medium heat, add clarified butter. Add the cakes one by one, being sure not to overcrowd the pan. When the cakes become golden brown, flip and brown on the other side. Depending on the thickness of cakes, finish cooking in the oven if need be. To serve, assemble by placing poached eggs on top of cakes. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of sauce over the egg and garnish with chives.

Lamb Strozzapreti from 312 Chicago {136 North LaSalle Street, Chicago; 312.325.7111}

serves four


For the strozzapreti:

  • 1-1/2 lbs day-old bread
  • 4 c milk
  • 10 oz spinach, blanched
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 2 c flour

For the braised lamb shoulder:

  • 2 lbs boneless pork shoulder
  • 1 c carrots, diced
  • 1 c celery, diced
  • 1 c yellow onion, diced
  • 1 c cooking red wine
  • 8 oz peeled tomatoes, crushed
  • 2 c vegetable stock
  • 2 oz vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper


For the strozzapreti: Cut the bread into 2-inch squares. In a bowl, add the bread and cover with milk. Set aside and let the mixture absorb for a few hours. In a grinder, grind the bread and milk mixture. In a separate bowl, add ground spinach. Combine with bread. Add salt and flour and work the dough until firm. Roll a baseball-sized ball of dough into 3/4-inch diameter dowels. Cut dowels into 1-inch long pieces. Toss lightly with flour and refrigerate while making lamb shoulder.

For the braised lamb shoulder: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium sauté pan over high heat, add the oil. Sprinkle the lamb shoulder with salt and pepper on all sides. In the pan, sear the lamb on all sides until brown. Remove from pan and put the lamb in a roasting pan. In the same sauté pan, add carrots, celery, and onion and cook over high heat until brown, about five minutes. Add red wine and let reduce for a couple of minutes. Add the mixture to the roasting pan. Add tomatoes and vegetable stock to the pan and cover with a lid or aluminum foil. Place pan in the oven and cook for 2-1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 30 minutes before serving.

To finish: After lamb has rested, heat a pot full of salted water to a boil. Add the dough into the water until it floats, about 1 minute. Remove from the saucepan and serve with lamb shoulder.

Curated by Morgan Carter