Tag Archives: chipotle

soup swap mach II: four soup recipes to see you through ’til spring

Last year I had the rather brilliant (if I do say so myself) idea to host a soup swap for myself and some girlfriends.  The concept was simple: do the work of cooking one soup, but wind up with a fridge full of 4 or 5 different soups.  This was mostly born from the fact that while I love to cook big batches of things to take in my lunch for the week, I don’t exactly want to eat the same thing 5 days in a row.  So, in what I hope will become an annual tradition, we got together and traded soups (and stories of youthful indiscretions, but that’s for another blog… or not!).

Once again I made two soups, this Cheese Soup with Caramelized Onions & Cumin (sooo good!!), and an “African-inspired” carrot soup from Moosewood Daily Special that had peanut butter, lime and chili sauce. The carrot soup sounded like a good idea at the time, but I had to majorly tweak it to get it to taste good to me.  I added a pretty significant amount of brown sugar, upped the peanut butter, and also added coconut milk.  It ended up tasting like peanut satay sauce, which I guess was not a bad thing, but the fact that I altered it so much makes it pretty impossible to give a recipe.  (But make the cheese soup- that turned out great!)

This year’s batch of soups were no less delicious and satisfying than last year’s. So without further ado, here are my “tasting notes”.  For the recipes, just follow the links.

French Lentil Soup
First of all, the “French” refers to the type of lentils used, not the style of the soup, so don’t worry- it’s not some heavy-cream-and-butter bomb!  French green (Puy) lentils are so great in soup; they are much firmer than regular brown lentils and have a nice chew to them.  This soup is seasoned with mint and cinnamon, among other things, which gives it a delightful Middle Eastern feel. There is an optional garnish of thick Greek yogurt.  I would up the suggested salt content a tiny bit, but other than that I found it to be just right as-is.  Oh, and there are greens in it too so it’s super healthy.  Thanks Kate, this is definitely going into the rotation!

Caldo Tlalpeño (Chicken, Chipotle & Chickpea Soup)
The soup for those who like to eat alliteratively! Amanda says she makes this for weeknight suppers on a pretty regular basis, and it seems pretty straightforward and simple.  The only thing that might throw you off is finding fresh epazote, but I believe she made this batch without and it was still delicious.  I tend to prefer dark meat so I would probably sub out an equal weight of bone-in, skinned chicken leg quarters, but that’s just a personal preference and it was certainly good (and probably a bit healthier) with the breast meat.  Although it’s not in the recipe, I couldn’t resist adding some chopped cilantro when I reheated mine.

Shrimp & Corn Chowder with Fennel
Shrimp, corn, fennel, bacon… what’s not to like about this soup?  Some of the commenters on the Real Simple site (where this was taken from) were pretty harsh, saying it was very bland.  I could definitely picture a dash or two of Tabasco, and just a wee bit more salt, but it was far from being as bland as they implied!  (You’re probably starting to think I’m a salt freak at this point, but a pinch of salt can be the difference between bland and just right.  Taste and add as you go… everyone’s taste buds are different!)  Michelle made this with the suggested (optional) bacon and I would too, but I would maybe crumble it in just before serving.  The only other tweak I would consider is adding a bit of cornstarch to give it a thicker, more “chowdery” feel (dissolve cornstarch in cold water before adding to the soup).

African Curried Coconut Soup
This vegan soup was delightful and looks really easy to make. The rice is listed as “optional” but I would definitely include it- not only does it make it a bit more filling, but it’s beneficial to eat rice and legumes together, especially for non-meat eaters.  Sarah added some spinach at the end of the cooking (not in the recipe) and it was a nice touch.

Thanks again, ladies… Can’t wait for our next swap!

late-nite smoky chorizo chili

Inspiration can strike at odd times, and this is a perfect example: I get home the other night from the bar, a little hungry, but there’s nothing ready-made in the fridge. I’m staring down a link of chorizo that I bought at Holiday Market’s Sausage Fest a few weeks ago (stay tuned for more sausage-related recipes; I have a whole freezerful!) and figured out that I could make a really easy chili with that and a few pantry items.

Chili ingredients

Chili ingredients

I’m not really a fan of ground beef in chili- I like to use steak or venison or chorizo. The great thing about chorizo is that it has a lot of flavor in it already, so for this quick chili it was perfect… keeping the ingredient list short. The only work I did besides opening cans was chopping the onion and chipotles. In my opinion, the final product tasted just as good as a chili that had simmered for hours (or maybe that was just my late-night taste buds being indiscriminate)!

Smoky Chorizo Chili

1 link chorizo sausage (about 3/4 to 1 lb)
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic (optional depending on how lazy you want to be- your chorizo should have some garlic flavor already)
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
1 14-oz can black beans or pinto beans
1 cup frozen corn kernels or small can of corn, drained
1 7-oz can chipotles in adobo

chili___1

Smoky Chorizo Chili with Sour Cream & Plantain Chips

Directions: Squeeze the chorizo out of its casing and fry in a large heavy skillet (I like cast-iron) over medium heat, breaking up the chunks as it cooks. Meanwhile, dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add these to the chorizo, frying and stirring until the onions soften. While those are cooking, rinse and drain the beans, open the tomatoes. Remove the chipotles from their sauce and chop them up*. By this time, the onions should be cooked. Dump the beans, tomatoes, corn and chipotles into the pan and let everything simmer for 5-10 minutes to heat through. I ate this plain with corn chips, but a dollop of sour cream or even yogurt is always nice with chili and helps cool the spiciness. Plantain chips are a nice change of pace for a garnish as well.  You can salt to taste if needed, but if your tomatoes are salted you probably won’t find it necessary.

 *For the chipotles in adobo, you have some options. If you want it quite spicy, you can just use the whole can, sauce and all (chop up the chilies first though). I deseeded the chiles prior to chopping them, and froze the remaining adobo sauce for a future use. I’d say the result was “medium” heat. If you wanted it less spicy, just use a couple chiles instead of the whole can, and freeze the remainder.