Soups

Green Chile Chicken Soup with Lime Cilantro Rice

(recipe serves 6-8)

1/4 C olive oil
3 small yellow onions, medium dice
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
S & P

1 T ground cumin
1 T dried oregano

6-8 tomatillos, skin removed and rinsed, quartered
2 large ears fresh corn, cut from the cob
1 – 4 ounce can fire roasted green chiles. diced
1 – 15.5 ounce can white hominy, rinsed
1 – 15.5 ounce can kidney beans, rinsed
8 C chicken stock
1 T chipotle puree
2 bay leaves
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
Juice of one large lime

2 large chicken breasts with rib meat and skin on – about three pounds
olive oil
S & P

For soup:

In a preheated soup pot, add olive oil. Oil should shimmer. Add onions, garlic and a pinch of salt and cracked black pepper. Simmer until onions become translucent. Add cumin and oregano. Mix in well. Stir until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer until tomatillos soften. Use the back of a large spoon to break them up. Add reserved chicken.

For chicken:

Rinse chicken with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. (Make sure to sterilize your sink after rinsing raw chicken. Use some bleach and soap for a thorough cleaning.)

Rub chicken breasts with a generous dose of olive oil. Liberally season with Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Place chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet and place into a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 15 minutes, rotate sheet and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until done. Allow cooling and shred into large pieces.

 

Lime Cilantro Rice

 

1/4 C fresh lime juice
1 small bunch of cilantro, large stems cut off
3 large cloves of garlic, trimmed
1 1/2 t salt

2 1/2 C water

2 T olive oil
1 1/2 C of converted white rice (like Uncle Ben’s)

In a blender, add lime juice, cilantro, garlic, salt and about 1/4 C of the water measure.
Blend well. Scrape down sides and blend again. Add remaining 2 1/4 C of water to blender and blend on high-speed.

In a preheated skillet, add olive oil. Oil should shimmer. Add rice and stir to lightly toast. Add cilantro water. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 20 minutes or until water is mostly absorbed. Pour rice onto a baking sheet for cooling.

 

Notes from the kitchen:

Soup and rice were prepared a day ahead. For service, warm rice in the microwave. Ladle warmed soup into bowls, add a scoop of rice and a lime slice. Great texture, fresh flavors and a little spice make this soup very satisfying.

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Lentils with Chorizo

serves 8-10

1/4 C or more olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced small
5-6 celery stalks, diced small
5-6 carrots, peeled and diced small
5-6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

3 T tomato paste

1 C red wine

1 – 28 ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes (crushed with your hands)

4-5 bay leaves
5-6 whole cloves
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1 T plus 1 t dried thyme
2 t salt

1 pound bag of green lentils, rinsed

12 C chicken stock or broth

Spanish chorizo links, diced

 

In a large preheated soup pot, add olive oil. Add onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Spritz vegetable mix with salt and pepper. Sauté over medium heat until vegetables soften and meld. You may need to add some additional olive oil.

Add tomato paste. Continue to sauté until vegetables and paste begin to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Increase heat and add red wine. Reduce red wine until almost completely evaporated. You should draw a line on the bottom of the pan and it should stay dry. See photo.

Add crushed tomatoes. Add bay leaves, cloves, red pepper flakes, thyme and salt. Mix well.  Add lentils and stock. Bring soup to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until lentils have softened. At this point, add chorizo and simmer an additional 15-20 minutes.

I prepared the soup a couple of days before I served it. I chilled the soup in the refrigerator, uncovered, overnight. The next day, I covered the soup for an additional day of storage. Before service, I reheated and added the chorizo.

NOTES:

The soup will develop more flavor when it has a chance to rest in the refrigerator. The soup can be made several days out. Add the chorizo just prior to service.

Aurelia’s Spanish Chorizo (available online and at HEB) is delicious. I ended up using a Chorizo purchased at Whole Foods. Perfectly fine.

For service, I toasted up a baguette. Brush baguette slices with olive oil and bake until crisp. Also, I added some chopped parsley and parmesan cheese to top.

The soup freezes well too. Would not freeze with chorizo.

 

Red Lentils with Herbed Basmati Rice and Smoked Paprika Oil

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(recipe serves 8)

Soup:

1/4 C olive oil
2 small yellow onions, small dice
6-8 cloves of garlic, minced

3 T tomato paste
1 T ground coriander
1 1/2 t cumin
1 1/2 t ginger
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t red pepper flakes

3 C red lentils, rinsed
10 C chicken or vegetable stock

Juice of one lemon
2 t salt
1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped

In a large preheated soup pot, add olive oil, onions and garlic. Sauté until onions are translucent and garlic is aromatic.

Add tomato paste, coriander, cumin, ginger, cinnamon and red pepper flakes. Stir well and continue to sauté until a slight sticking occurs and flavors bloom.

Add lentils and chicken stock. Scrape up any bits on the bottom and bring soup to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and add lemon juice, cilantro and salt.

Cover soup and simmer until lentils “open up” and soup thickens. Adjust seasoning and serve with basmati rice and smoked paprika oil.

Soup will reveal more depth of flavor after an overnighter in the fridge. This is most always my recommendation. Adjust seasonings after reheating.

Herbed Basmati Rice:

2 C basmati rice, rinsed
4 C filtered water

1 t salt
2 t dried mint
2 t dried dill

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Cover pan with tight-fitting lid, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove rice from heat, with lid on, and allow 10 more minutes of “steaming”. Fluff with fork and serve.

Smoked Paprika Oil:

1/3 C olive oil, not extra virgin
1/2 t smoked paprika

Place olive oil and paprika in a small space pan. Bring to a slow boil. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to steep.

Drizzle over soup.

Serving suggestions:

Lots of warm naan,  a simple tossed salad and you have a very satisfying meal. A Pinot Noir would would be a tasty accompaniment along with a few logs on the fire and a good movie on the tube. Enjoy!

Ratatouille Soup

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(serves 8)

1/4 C olive oil
5 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1 yellow onion, diced

3 T tomato paste
2 T dried basil
1 1/2 t red pepper flakes

1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
2 zucchini, chopped
2 yellow squash, chopped
1 large (or 2 small) eggplant, chopped
1 small container of Cremini mushrooms, stems removed and chopped

1 – 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes (San Marzano brand is delicious)
Juice of 3 lemons
8 C chicken or vegetable stock
2 t salt

In a large preheated soup pot, add olive oil. Add onion, garlic and a generous spritz of salt and black pepper. Sauté over medium high heat until garlic is fragrant and onions are translucent. Add tomato paste, basil and red pepper flakes. Continue to sauté until tomato paste darkens in color and begins to stick to the pan. Add a small amount of the stock to “deglaze”.

Add bell peppers, zucchini, squash, eggplant and mushrooms. Add tomatoes, lemon juice, remaining stock and salt. Bring soup to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until vegetables are tender.

Serve over orzo pasta and garnish with basil pesto.

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Sweet Potato Chili

quick | easy |  flavorful

serves 4-6 depending on serving size

whole grain | protein | fiber | complex carbohydrate | oh my

                           whole grain | protein | fiber | complex carbohydrate | oh my

1/4 C olive oil

1 large yellow onion, medium dice

6 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

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2 T chile powder (make sure it is fresh)

2 t ground cumin

2 T tomato paste

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1 t red pepper flakes

2 – 15.5 ounce cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes

1 – 14.5 ounce can of kidney beans, rinsed well

1 – 14.5 ounce can of black beans, rinsed well

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4 C chicken or vegetable stock

1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped

1 fresh jalapeño, chopped (I left seeds and membrane in for spice.)

Juice from 1 lemon

2 t salt

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2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut chunky style

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Cook up 1 cup of quinoa according to package instructions.

Cook up 1 cup of quinoa according to package instructions.

Beginning to end, 30 minutes of prep time and cutting boards are clean!

Beginning to end, 30 minutes of prep time and cutting boards are clean!

For sweet potatoes:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Coat foil with non-stick pan spray. Place sweet potatoes on cookie sheet and oil them up with about 2 T of olive oil. Make sure the potato pieces are not touching to insure even cooking and crisp edges. Spritz with salt and cracked pepper. Place into the oven. Roast for 10 minutes. Rotate cookie and sheet and roast for an additional 10 minutes. Remove and cool.

For soup:

Place 1/4 C of olive oil in a preheated soup pot. Add garlic slices and sauté over medium heat until fragrant. Add onion. Add a spritz of salt and pepper. Sauté until onion starts to become translucent. Add chile powder, cumin and tomato paste. Mix well while continuing to sauté. Spices should become fragrant. Flavors are “blooming”. Add red pepper flakes. Add tomatoes, beans and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Add jalapeño, lemon juice, cilantro and 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer as flavors meld.

For service:

Add roasted sweet potatoes to soup pot and warm. Place a scoop of quinoa in each bowl. Ladle chili over quinoa. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, chopped scallion and diced radish.

Serve chili with a mango/jicama salad: diced mango, jicama, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil and salt

Serve chili with a mango/jicama salad: diced mango, jicama, jalapeño, cilantro, red onion, lime juice, olive oil and salt.

Sweet Potato Soup with Pasilla Chiles

(recipe serves 8)

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1/4 C of olive oil

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4 carrots, peeled and diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 1/2 small yellow onions, diced
6-7 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
S & P

1/4 C apple cider vinegar

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4-5 Pasilla chiles, torn into pieces, seeds and stems removed
2 Gala apples, peeled and chopped
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunky pieces

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2 cinnamon sticks, bundle with kitchen twine
4 bay leaves
4-5 whole cloves
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1 heaping teaspoon of chipotle puree
2 t salt

Puree a small can of chipotle in adobo sauce. If necessary, add a small amount of water.

Puree a small can of chipotle in adobo sauce. If necessary, add a small amount of water.

8 C chicken stock
1 C orange juice

In a large preheated soup pot, add olive oil, carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Add a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Do not stir. Allow the vegetable mixture to caramelize over medium high heat before stirring. A LITTLE BIT OF PAN STICKING IS GOOD. You can smell the caramelization occur. Continue to cook vegetables allowing for a generous browning. Adjust heat down if burning begins to occur. Adding salt to the mixture will extract water from the vegetables. You want to continue to cook the aromatics until the water evaporates and browning occurs.

Add cider vinegar. Scrape up pan bits. Add 4 C of stock. Add chiles, apples, sweet potatoes, cinnamon, bay leaves, cloves, red pepper flakes, chipotle puree and salt.
Mix well. Add remaining 4 C of stock and orange juice. Bring to a boil. Cover and lower heat to medium low. Simmer until potatoes, apples and chiles are tender. YOUR HOUSE WILL SMELL FANTASTIC 😉

Remove from heat. Allow soup to cool before placing in the refrigerator, uncovered, for overnight magic!

The next day, remove soup and puree. Using a blender, puree the soup in batches until smooth. Place soup back into a pan for reheating. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If consistency is too thick, add an additional amount of stock.

Garnish with orange creme fraiche, pumpkin seeds and golden raisins. A chili corn chip makes a nice garnish.

 

I used the combo corn/flour tortillas. They create a perfect texture when baked.

I used the combo corn/flour tortillas. They create a perfect texture when baked. Available at HEB.

For chips: Lightly brush each side of the tortilla with olive oil. Sprinkle chili powder and Kosher salt on one side. Cut tortilla in half and place on a cookie sheet. Place into a preheated 375 degree oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate cookie sheet and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Make sure your chili powder is not too old. Fresh  chili powder is the ticket for full flavor.

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Summer Vegetable With Hatch Chiles

(recipe serves 8)

1/4 C olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped small
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
2 red bell peppers, diced small

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Juice from 3 limes

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1 – 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
3 mild roasted Hatch chiles, chopped
3 hot roasted Hatch chiles, chopped

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4 ears of roasted corn, kernels removed
2 large zucchini, quartered lengthwise and diced

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1 T cumin
6-7 C chicken or vegetable stock
1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped

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Salt to taste

1 C uncooked quinoa

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This time of year, HEB buys tons of Hatch Chiles from New Mexico. They roast them in large barrel roasters outside their stores. When you get out of your car, the wonderful smokey charred aroma of roasting chiles overcomes you. Wheels spin and recipes come forth. I love this soup. The earthy quinoa, smokey chiles, spice, fresh corn and zucchini, and the brightness of the lime!!!

For roasted corn:
Rub ears of corn with olive oil. Salt and pepper each ear. Place corn on a foil lined baking sheet and place into a preheated 450 degree oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Using tongs, rotate ears of corn and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow cooling. Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels from the cob.

For soup:
Place olive oil in a preheated soup pot. Add onions, garlic and red peppers. Sprinkle mix with salt and cracked pepper. Sauté vegetables over medium high heat until they soften and begin to stick to the bottom of the pan. Add lime juice to the pot and scrape up any bits which have stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Add tomatoes and chiles. Mix well. Add corn, zucchini, cumin, stock and cilantro. Bring mix to a boil and lower heat until vegetables become tender. Salt to taste.

Ladle soup over cooked quinoa and garnish with scallions and tostadas.

As I have mentioned before, plan ahead so that your soup can rest for a day before service. Magic happens when flavors can chill and develop! Slow down folks. Fast food lacks soul…

For quinoa:
Place 1 C uncooked quinoa into a large sauce pan. Add 2 C of filtered water, 3 bay leaves and 1 t salt. Bring mixture to a boil. Cover and lower heat. Cook for about 15 minutes until water evaporates. Spread cooked quinoa on a cookie sheet for cooling. This can be prepared ahead, cooled and reheated in a microwave.

Borracho Beans

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1 pound pinto beans (soaked overnight)

1/4 C vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
8 cloves of garlic, minced


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2 – 10 ounce cans Rotel tomatoes
1 T chili powder
1 t red pepper flakes
1 T chipotle puree
3/4 C cooked bacon pieces
1 T  salt
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Water
1 bottle Mexican beer

Puree a small can of chipotle in adobo sauce.

Puree a small can of chipotle in adobo sauce.

Pico de gallo makes a perfect topping for borracho beans.

Pico de gallo makes a perfect topping for borracho beans.

Drain beans in a colander. In a preheated soup pot, add oil, onions, bell peppers and garlic. Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Sauté over medium heat until onions become translucent and peppers soften. A little sticking is ok. Add Rotel tomatoes, chili powder, red pepper flakes, chipotle puree, bacon, salt and cilantro. Bring mixture to a boil adding a little water if necessary. Add beans and beer. Add additional water to cover beans by an inch or so. Bring beans to a boil. Lower heat and cover. Slow boil beans until tender. Additional water may need to be added. Adjust seasoning with salt if necessary.

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Yellow Split Pea with Garbanzo Beans

(serves 8-10, freezes well too)

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1 pound yellow split peas, soaked in water overnight

1/4 C olive oil
2 small yellow onions, diced small
2 red bell peppers, diced small
8 cloves of garlic, minced

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1 T curry
1 T ground coriander
1 1/2 t cumin
1 T turmeric
1 t red pepper flakes

8 C vegetable or chicken stock
Juice of one lemon
1 t baking soda

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1 – 5 ounce container of baby spinach
1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
2 – 15 ounce cans of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

2 t salt

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In a large preheated soup pot, add olive oil. Once oil shimmers, add onions, bell peppers and garlic. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. While that is sautéing, drain your split peas in a colander and rinse. Once onions are translucent, add split peas to the pot along with about 2 cups of stock. Add curry, coriander, cumin, turmeric and red pepper flakes. Stir well to combine. Add remaining stock, lemon juice and baking soda. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and add spinach, cilantro, garbanzo beans and salt. Cover and cook over medium low heat until yellow split peas begin to soften and break apart.

The soup really shines after an overnighter in your fridge. Reheat and serve with a dollop of yogurt, chopped scallions and toasted almond slices. Some grilled naan makes a great accompaniment. Additional stock or water can be added if consistency is too thick.

Smokin’ Chicken Chipotle Soup

(serves 8-10)

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1/4 C olive oil
2 small yellow onions, diced
8-10 garlic cloves, minced

1 – 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
2 – 10 ounce cans of Rotel
1 – 14.75 can of creamed corn
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped

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1 T chili powder
2 t cumin
1/2 t red pepper flakes
2 T chipotle pepper puree

6 C chicken stock

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1 – 30 ounce can of hominy (rinsed and drained)
3 large yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and chopped
3 C shredded chicken

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In a preheated soup pot, add olive oil, onions and garlic. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté until onion is translucent and garlic is fragrant. Add diced tomatoes, Rotel, creamed corn and cilantro. Mix well. Add chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes and chipotle puree. Mix well. Add stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat and take an immersion blender and puree the soup until a nice thick consistency is achieved. It should look like thick marinara. If it is too thick, add additional stock or water. Add hominy, squash and chicken. Simmer until squash is tender, but not mushy. Adjust seasoning with salt, if needed.

Serve soup with chunks of fresh avocado, sour cream, cilantro and lime.

This would also make an excellent base for a vegetarian chili. Use vegetable stock instead of chicken and add additional veggies at the end. Butternut squash, sweet pepper chunks, zucchini, cauliflower, parsnips, turnips….

This soup whips up pretty quickly. Minimal dicing required. A good can opener is essential!

There is a sweetness, from the creamed corn, as well as smokey heat. The creamy cool chunks of avocado and sour cream offer nice counter to the spice. A spritz of limon verde and a slice of skillet cornbread makes this the perfect meal for a cool evening at home. Don’t forget the Negro Modelo.