So we're sitting here and it's cold outside. Brrrrr! And it's a bit snowy. And tomorrow is a holiday and everyone is cooking like crazy and I just want to warm the bones a bit with something. What else warms the bones better than SOUP? Coco? I'm not in the mood for coco and I'm hungry. So soup it is. Since you're in the mood for soup, too - I can sense these things, it is rather uncanny - here is a collection of 10 soup recipes with a spicy spin to help you choose. Of course we had to spice things up a little. Not TOO spicy. Just nicely BOLD. With flavor!
These are some of our favorites. If you're making these AFTER the holidays, think LEFTOVERS. Soups are notoriously easy for leftovers. Chop up some leftover turkey or chicken and toss it into the soup. Use the mashed potatoes as a base. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over the top for a garnish. Go crazy. One word: SOUP!
Patty's Perspective: Once it starts to get cold outside, I crave soups to keep me warm. Mike is VERY creative with his soups, where he can spend time and deliver elaborate flavors for dinner, or toss a few things together for a quick lunch and still generate bold flavors in no time. It's all about having the right ingredients in hand. Lucky we're stocked!
I came upon a soup recipe recently by Jamie Oliver, the well know TV chef/personality, and was intrigued. I was searching for cold weather soups and something interesting to do with some leftover ciabatta bread. I like the chef's take on the bread. Bread is used in sauces like Romesco, which I love, and it works just as good in soup. It not only thickens it up for a hardy dish, but permeates the soup with flavor. I was surprised at how much garlic the original recipe called for. How could this much roasted garlic go into a soup? Wow! Turns out it is quite good, especially when you tweak the recipe with plenty of roasted jalapeno peppers and my preferred spices. I’m all about garlic, but the soup greatly benefits from the addition of the jalapeno peppers.
Trinidad Perfume peppers have the taste of a habanero, but have practically no heat, making them perfect for incorporating the flavor of a citrusy habanero pepper for those who can't take the heat level. We've incorporated ours into a corn chowder in order to take advantage of their natural smokiness.
This is a warm weather summer recipe made with traditional Caprese salad ingredients, though we have instead used them to make a garden fresh soup. I was able to pull most of the ingredients out of my garden just before it was time to break the garden down for the upcoming winter.
These are fun days for me. We both work from home so I don't always have a ton of time for an elaborate lunch, as much as I'd like one. We could run out, and sometimes we do, but we can eat so much more healthy at home. I keep certain ingredients on hand at all times so I typically have plenty to choose from when cooking, but happy for us that I recently smoked a ham and a turkey in the monstrous smoker Patty got for me last year. Actually, I smoked a 10 pound ham that was rubbed down with a mustard rub and superhot chili powder, a 10 pounds turkey breast that was rubbed with superhot chili powder and Cajun seasonings, as well as a whole chicken. From the chicken carcass, I made a homemade chicken stock and froze it. Same with the sliced ham and turkey. Now we have plenty of meat to last through some of the Winter.
Let us present --- da Da DAA! -- Chicken and Black Bean Soup. We're both big black bean fans. They're so good for you and the flavor is unlike other beans. It is richer and earthier, and so nicely paired with chicken. I always enjoy cooking Mexican style. If you let this recipe simmer in the pot with all those seasonings and peppers and chicken stock, the flavors build and mingle and they're just so satisfying. I wish we had a fireplace some nights when it's freezing outside, just so we can enjoy meals like this, curled up on the couch in a blanket with soup and the sounds of the crackling fire.
When the garden explodes every year and we have an over-abundance of chili peppers, I like to hand some out to my neighbors and friends. Sharing is good! When I gave my neighbor, Nikki, a Yellow 7 Pot chili pepper to play with, she surprised me with some of her amazing gumbo. Talk about delicious! It's fun to live in a neighborhood where so many people like to cook, and Nikki is one of the best around here. I asked if it would be OK to share her recipe and, lucky for us all, she agreed. I just heated this up the next day and topped it with a bit of chopped parsley.
This is the tail end of our icy-cold season and we're now starting to think about our gardens, so it's time to get in a last blast of bone-warming comfort food in the form of split pea soup. We only make this a couple times a year, maybe three times. We can make a whole pot and it will last us throughout the week for a dinner and then the leftovers for quick lunches. It doesn't take much to fill you up.
If you enjoy a good stew recipe, or a soup with lots of chunky chicken or pork, then Mexican Posole is something you'll want to try. It certainly is a classic dish, very traditional to Mexico, and it has a number of variations, ranging from chicken and pork and different types of meat, to a huge variety of preferred garnishes. I stick with what I typically have on hand - diced avocados, cilantro, some lime wedges - though others like to include lemon, cabbage, salsa, onion, radishes or other chili peppers. Roasted jalapenos or serranos would be awesome here.
I'm starting up a whole new category on the Chili Pepper Madness web site. It's called Quick and Easy Recipes. As you already know, Patty and I work from home. We run a web site development business and I am a writer (just sold another screenplay, yo!), so on our crazy busy days, we need meals quickly. I KNOW we can run down the street for a sammich or down to our favorite Taqueria for a burrito, but hey, I'm obsessed with cooking! I'm a TOTAL chilehead with a hankering for spicy food! Besides, there is nothing like a home cooked meal, as I'm sure you would agree.
We got our first blast of winter here, folks. Even now as I gaze out the window, we're blanketed with a solid 8 inches of snow and the temps are below freezing at the moment. Can't say we're big fans of winter, but at least we have butternut squash soup to warm us up. Ahhh, butternut squash soup. It's one of those uber winter recipes. Something to stick to the bones. Of course we want to make ours a little bit spicy, but we also want it creamy this time. Super creamy. It's easy to achieve and it will knock your socks off. Seriously.
Enjoy the spicy soup recipes! Take care,
Mike and Patty, Chili Pepper Madness