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Adobo Sweet Potato Soup

Adobo Sweet Potato Soup

Adobo Sweet Potato soup is my answer to the in-between time of winter and spring.  The end of January and the start of February are such awkward times of the year.  In the PNW in particular, it’s not quite winter, but it’s not quite spring, either – it’s still raining, but there are those occasional days of sunshine that suggest that maybe, just maybe, spring is around the corner.  In terms of seasonal foods, it’s a good time to do some pantry and fridge clearing, as well as explore what root veggies have been hanging out for too long underneath the onions.  It’s definitely the time of year when sweet potatoes and potatoes get some love.

I tend not to cook sweet potatoes around the traditional times of year, like Thanksgiving.  I wait, instead, until I’m back to work post-holiday, and looking for lunches that can be frozen easily.  I never know quite what each week is going to bring, so it’s good to have a guaranteed good lunch waiting for me in the freezer.  This adobo sweet potato soup definitely fits the bill.  It’s easy to make, so didn’t consume my entire Sunday to prep.  It freezes beautifully, and I’m already looking forward to eating it at lunch this week.

Canned adobo chilies lend the adobo sweet potato soup a super smokey flavor.  I also used some smoked paprika, which is arguably one of my all time favorite spices.  As part of the fridge/pantry clean up effort, I gathered up all the celery I could find, leaves and all, and tossed those in too.  The end result is a silky, smokey, soup with a bit of sweet and just the slightest kick from the peppers.

If you checked out my post from last week with the black lentil and poached egg bowls, you know that I’m a bit mirepoix obsessed here of late.  The adobo sweet potato soup has a modified mirepoix: adobo chili, celery, and onion.  It’s just so colorful in the pan:

Once the smoked paprika and salt go in, the mirepoix takes on a deep red shade

And then the sweet potatoes go in.

adobo sweet potato soup

All of this beauty becomes a gorgeous adobo sweet potato soup (after the addition of some veggie stock and some pureeing).

adobo sweet potato soup

I added a dollop of Greek yogurt to cut the heat a bit.  Greek yogurt, sour cream, or creme fraiche would all be a lovely addition to this soup.

adobo sweet potato soup

Adobo Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 adobo chili, diced
  • 4 stalks celery, preferably with leaves, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into small chunks
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • Greek yogurt (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium sized saucepan. Add the adobo chili, the celery, and the onion and saute until the celery and onion become soft. Add the sweet potatoes, smoked paprika, and salt and stir a few times. Add the veggie stock and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 - 25 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft.
  2. Use an immersion blender or blender and puree to desired smoothness. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt. Enjoy!
  3. Serves 4
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This recipe is getting around.  It’s linked up this week to

Souper Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen

and at Meatless Monday on Confessions of a Mother Runner (co-hosted by Sarah at A Whisk and Two Wands).

Confessions of a Mother Runner

 

 

 

 

and at Tinned Tomatoes Meat Free Mondays where it was featured for the week of February 6 (check out the great menu ideas for the week!).

Hijacked By Twins
Hijacked By Twins

 

 

 

 

 

 

and at #CookBlogShare hosted by Hijacked by Twins as well as at #SimplySeasonal hosted by Hijacked by Twins. 

Black Garlic Tomato Soup

Black Garlic Tomato Soup

I have a particularly hectic week going on this week with some sort of travel going on every day except for Friday.  I had unavoidable lunches out for two of those days (though in truth, today’s lunch of salad, crab cakes, and a trio of desserts was pretty awesome, especially since it was all made by culinary students in their first term of school).  In planning my week, I knew I’d need to prep things on Sunday that could frozen for lunch for later in the week.  At the same time, I’ve been really intrigued by black garlic, which has been showing up at various natural food stores around town, including Trader Joe’s.  Black garlic, which sounds scary, I know, is actually garlic that’s been fermented for weeks.  It’s possible to make your own, but since we are living in a rental right now, and black garlic is pretty pungent smelling, I’m going to have to rely on buying it for now.

black-garlic

Black garlic – still in the garlic pod on the left and a peeled clove on the right. 

Black garlic has a subtle flavor – somewhere between garlic and licorice.  I decided to experiment and try it out in a tomato soup, which ended up being the perfect use.  The soup is very easy to make – it takes just a few ingredients and about thirty minutes to cook.  The best part – it freezes easily, making it a perfect lunch meal!

I’ve linked this up to Kahakai Kitchen’s Souper Sunday.  If you are looking for other really great soup recipes, check out the link and you won’t be disappointed.

black-garlic-tomato-soup2

Black Garlic Tomato Soup

Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves black garlic, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 16 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan.  Add the black garlic and onion and sauté until the onions are translucent.  Add the tomatoes and their juice, the paprika and the salt and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.  Puree in a blender or use an immersion blender to get the soup to your desired consistency.  Enjoy!

 

souper_sundays2

 

 

“Magic” Chicken Orzo Soup

“Magic” Chicken Orzo Soup

I was delighted to see that Simona Carini was hosting another Novel Food edition on her lovely blog briciole.  I have such fun thinking about the various books I read and what food gets cooked and consumed in those books, as well as how food can play an important role on a character’s development.

This year, I decided to make an attempt to read my way through Popsugar’s Reading Challenge, which is a list of 40 or so categories of books like satire, or a book that will be made into a movie this year.  I thought it might force me out of my book comfort zone, which tends heavily toward the mystery aisle in the bookstore.  One of the categories was a romance set in the future.  I did some searching and came up with…a mystery that’s set in the future and is also a love story.  Ok, so maybe this didn’t push me out of my reading comfort zone, but it did turn me onto a new mystery series: JD Robb’s series featuring Detective Eve Dallas and her handsome hubby, Roarke.  To say that I’m hooked would be something of an understatement – I’ve been going to our used bookstore every month to add to my stash (there are over 50 books in the series so far and I’ve read 14 of them).  I’ll read three or four of these at a time and then take a little break, read something else, and then start again.

One of the things that has struck me is how much food plays into each story.  Eve Dallas is a tough but lovable character and her criminal turned civilian consultant husband Roarke spends much of his time taking care of her, including making sure she eats well.  Dallas’s tastes lean toward red meat, pizza, and coffee, but Roarke often makes her eat her vegetables and tries to get her to appreciate the finer things in life in between her saving people and finding murderers.

There is also a wonderful surrounding cast of characters that includes Dallas’s partner, Detective Peabody.  Peabody also likes to make sure that Eve eats while she is on the go and tracking down the bad guys.  In one of my favorite parts of Calculated in Death (book 45 in the series), Peabody and Dallas stop for soup in between interviews of murder suspects and Dallas calls the soup “magic” – it’s just how good it is.  I don’t recall that she actually ever reveals what’s in the soup, but magic soup becomes a touchstone throughout the book – later on, when Dallas and Peabody are back at their headquarters, Dallas eats some minestrone soup and sniffs at it, saying that it isn’t bad, but it isn’t “magic”.

calcualted-in-death

Since soup is one of my favorite foods, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what my “magic” soup is and decided it would be chicken noodle soup of some sort.  This weekend, we’ve been inundated by rain and wind here in the PNW, so I thought it was probably time to make chicken soup.  Sadly, we just don’t have enough storage space in our kitchen in our Vancouver rental, so I don’t have any chicken stock stored.  I decided I was going to poach some chicken breasts, with both skin and bone still on and in, and magic up some stock.  Combined with a lot of garlic, a little bit of green chili, and orzo, I think this soup could make even Eve Dallas come back for seconds.

chicken-orzo-soup

“Magic” Chicken Orzo Soup
Serves 4

For the poached chicken and stock
2 bone-in with skin chicken breasts
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1 carrot
2 celery stalks
1/2  red onion
1/2 leek
2 teaspoons salt

Cut the carrot in half.  Do the same with the celery stalks. Cut the onion into four chunks.  Cut the leek in half and make sure it is thoroughly clean.  Toss the bay leaves, peppercorns, carrot, celery, onion, leek and salt in a large saucepan.  Lay the chicken on top and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and then turn to a low simmer.  Poach for 15 – 20 minutes or until the chicken reads 165 degrees on a meat thermometer.  Strain out the chicken and other soilds and reserve the poaching liquid.

For the soup
Poached chicken breasts
8 cups chicken stock from the poached chicken
1 carrot
2 celery stalks
1/2 red onion
1/2 leek
8 garlic cloves
1 roasted Anaheim chili (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup uncooked orzo
Salt to taste

Chop the vegetables into bite size pieces.  Shred the chicken.  Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.  Add the carrots, onions and celery and saute until the onions are translucent.  Add the garlic, leek and Anaheim chili.  Saute for another two minutes.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Add the orzo and cook for eight minutes.  Stir in the shredded chicken and cook for ten more minutes.  Season with salt to taste.  Enjoy!

This blog post is linked to two really awesome blog link parties, so please take a look at the other great recipes that are out there:

souper_sundays2

Kahakai Kitchen Souper Sundays

Novel Food #28 on briciole

Crockpot Posole

Crockpot Posole

I recently ran across a great blog that combines the best of two worlds: food and books.  I’ve previously participated in the Novel Food challenge on Simona Carini’s beautiful blog, and was very excited to find Cook the Books Foodie Book Club.  The book chosen for August and September was F.G. Hachenbeck’s The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo.  This is a slightly odd book that fictionalizes Frida Kahlo’s life in context of a little recipe book that Kahlo might have kept.  Recipes are sprinkled throughout the book, and then there are a few of made-for-modern-taste versions of those recipes in the back.

secret-book-of-frida-kahlo-cover

I was especially excited to see a book about Frida Kahlo as the focus of this blog adventure.  I have been a Frida fan for a long time now – and funny enough, my first really significant encounter with her art is also tied to a food memory.  When I was in my late twenties, I took off for a road adventure by myself.  I was newly single and trying to find my way.  That way led to a road trip to Portland, OR and then all the way up Highway 101 to Tacoma and into Seattle.  I stayed at the Edgewater hotel in Seattle and walked everywhere, including the Seattle Art Museum, which was having a spectacular exhibit of both Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s work.  I was transported by Kahlo’s paintings – in life, they are even more stunning than in photos.  After spending hours wandering through the exhibit, I went across the street and stumbled into a Vietnamese restaurant and ate Pho for the first time.  Different cultures, different foods, different times, but for me, soup and Kahlo are inexorably linked in my memory because of that trip.

I’ve read other books about Kahlo, but I will say I enjoyed this venture into magical realism.  Like Kahlo’s paintings, the book merges the real with the surreal and takes us to the very personal relationship that Kahlo had with death.  And with food, of course.  This book is filled with rich description of food and the rich relationship that the characters have with food.  I doubt the truth of some of the book, but do like the thought that Frida Kahlo had such a rich life full of so many interesting people coming and going.

My book is now very sticky-noted with all the possible recipes I may yet try to adapt.  For this particular blog post though, I decided to go with Posole, largely because it hits that note of comfort food that rings for me when I think of my encounter with Kahlo’s paintings.

Not so long ago, I ran across directions for making hominy through nixtamalization – the process of turning maize into hominy.  I think it may be something I try someday (this is a farm fantasy moment – that day when I can grow my own maize, have chickens and goats, and so on).  For now, I’m sticking with buying hominy in the store.  I advise using dried white corn posole.

white-corn-posole-package white-corn-pre-soak

This adds a step (the white corn posole needs to be soaked overnight), but also gives the soup a better flavor than canned hominy.  I’ve added a few more ingredients than what is called for in the book and have also gone with a pork loin roast (rather than a pork head or other parts, as advised in the book).  This is a great Sunday Supper meal, as it can be tossed in the crockpot in the morning and can cook all day.  It also makes a good freezer meal.

Here’s a picture of the pork loin all rubbed in spices:

spiced-rub-pork-loin

And then the end result, seven hours later.  This is definitely a soup that will be added into our winter crockpot meal rotation.

posole-2

Crockpot Posole
Serves 6

White corn posole, soaked overnight
1 chopped onion
2 roasted Anaheim peppers, peeled and deseeded
1 can diced tomatoes (15 ounces)
4 cups chicken broth (or 2 cups chicken broth and 2 cups water)
Pork Loin roast – between 1 and 2 pounds
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon oregano or Italian seasonings
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ancho chili powder

Combine the seasonings and rub on the pork loin roast.  Add any remaining seasonings, the pork loin roast, and all other ingredients in a crock pot and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours or until the pork can be easily shredded with a fork.

Serve with wedges of lime, chopped up cilantro, and sliced avocado.  Enjoy!

cookthebooks

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

I’m looking forward to a cooler week ahead, so made roasted cauliflower soup today to welcome fall.  I’ve been intrigued by a recipe I’ve heard a lot about on several cooking podcasts: roasting a whole cauliflower head.  I experimented with roasted cauliflower earlier this season, which led to a cauliflower and pasta dish (you can find it here).  Roasting gives cauliflower a nutty flavor, so I figured a whole roasted head would be tasty, especially if it was blended into soup.

Soup and salad are one of my favorite combinations for lunch at my desk.  Soup is so comforting and a salad on the side makes it feel like a complete meal.  I enjoy cooler weather for that reason alone – it’s soup making time.

The recipe I used for the roasted cauliflower head came from Bon Appetit.  It calls for poaching the cauliflower first, which takes a little extra time, but it is well worth it.  The cauliflower lends itself to a creamy roasted cauliflower soup and requires so few ingredients – it’s simplicity itself.  Since I often fix lunch for several days in advance, any recipe that freezes well makes me happy, and this freezes exceptionally well.

That, and a fully roasted head of cauliflower is so, so very pretty!

roasted-cauliflower-head

Of course, so is the finished soup.

roasted-cauliflower-soup

Roasted Cauliflower Soup
Serves 4

1 head of cauliflower, roasted using this recipe
1 cup reserved poaching liquid from poaching the cauliflower
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup half and half
1 teaspoon salt

After poaching and roasting the cauliflower, combine the roasted cauliflower, poaching liquid, stock, half and half, and salt in a large saucepan.  Use an immersion blender or regular blender to blend until smooth.  Adjust salt to taste.  Enjoy!

Roasted Garlic Tomato Soup

Roasted Garlic Tomato Soup

I have an unusual week coming up this week at work.  I’m going out to lunch on Monday, which is really rare these days, and then have a full day in the office on Tuesday and then will be out the rest of the week.  I really only need lunch for one day, so I’m going to break into my stash of already frozen lunches I prepped over the break.

One of my absolute favorite foods is tomato soup.  I have super fond memories of growing up in Colorado and eating Campbell’s tomato soup in the winter.  I also recall adding celery to canned tomato soup and canned potato soup both.  This soup is a definite riff on that memory, but with by far better ingredients.  I had some roasted garlic that needed to be used up, along with the many cans of diced tomatoes I put up in the summer.  The combination of tomato, garlic, and celery tastes like sunshine to me.

This soup freezes beautifully and heats up quickly in the microwave.  I’ll serve it to myself with a spinach salad and some candied hazelnuts, I think.

tomatosoup2

Roasted Garlic Tomato Soup

Serves 2 (in bowls – could serve 4 as cups of soup on the side of a robust salad or a sandwich)

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 head of roasted garlic
2 cans of diced tomatoes (or 1 28 ounce can)
1 teaspoon salt
A few grinds of pepper
¼ cup heavy cream

Sauté the chopped celery for a few minutes in the olive oil. Add the roasted garlic and push it around so that it starts to form a paste. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes to let the flavors develop. At this point, you can cool the soup down and blend in a blender or pull the soup off the heat and use an immersion blender to break up the tomatoes and celery. I don’t mind a few chunks of celery in my soup, so left it a little chunky. Add the heavy cream. At this point, the soup can either be reheated by simmering gently for a few minutes or portioned out and frozen.

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