Nice day, huh? Nice day for soup, that is.
After I wrote about buying, peeling, seeding and freezing fresh-roasted chilies, reader Carl Edwards emailed to (very nicely) take me to task for my improper storage technique of these farmers market beauts:
Here’s what Carl had to say:
“I’m a chili fanatic, so I’ve been roasting and freezing my own chilies at home for many years. The roasted chilies will actually do better if you freeze them without peeling or seeding them first. If you leave the charred skins on, the roasted chilies will maintain their integrity through the freezing process. You can peel and seed them after you thaw them out, and they’ll be in good enough condition to use for chili rellenos, and the chile flesh will have a better texture. If you peel and seed them first, they tend to turn to mush when you freeze them. I sometimes do this, but only if I intend to use the frozen pulp in some type of sauce.”
When I wrote back, thanking him for the tip (and noting that, indeed, I am an eejit), I told him I intended to use those chilies to make an old favorite — potato, cheese and chili soup, which takes less than an hour to prepare. Ever the chili fanatic, he urged me to post the recipe on the blog. Good idea.
If you’re the proud owner of “The Enchanted Broccoli Forest” by Mollie Katzen — her follow-up to the classic “Moosewood Cookbook” — perhaps my old standby is in your repertoire too. If not, here’s the easy-to-make recipe. You can use fresh-roasted chilies, as I intend to, or do as Mollie suggests and open a can.
Potato Cheese & Chili Soup (makes four to six servings)
4 medium (3-inch diameter) potatoes
3 cups water [I use low-sodium Swanson’s chicken broth, or homemade stock if I’ve got some]
1 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. basil [Mollie doesn’t note it in the ’82 edition, since revised, but I’ve long assumed she means dried]
2 medium cloves of garlic, crushed
lots of freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups green bell pepper [which makes me burp, so I use sweet yellow or red bell pepper instead]
1 cup diced canned green chilies
3/4 cup sour cream
1 cup milk
3/4 cup (packed) grated Jack cheese
2 scallions (whites and greens), finely minced [I prefer to garnish with cilantro]
1. Scrub the potatoes, cut them into small chunks, and cook them in the water, partially covered, until tender (about 20 minutes). Cool to room temperature.
2. Meanwhile, begin sauteing the onions in combined butter and olive oil in a large, heavy skillet. After several minutes, add salt, cumin, basil, garlic and black pepper. Conintue to saute over medium heat until the onions are soft (5-8 minutes). Add chopped bell pepper and saute a few minutes more.
3. Puree the potatoes in their cooking water using a blender or a food processor. Return the puree to a kettle or a large, sturdy saucepan, and add the saute, plus the diced green chilies, sour cream and milk. Whisk until well-blended, and heat over a slow flame. When it is hot, stir in the cheese and scallions [or the cilantro] and serve.