When we went through the line at the CSA this week, we were glad to see the roasted green chilies separated into three categories: hot, medium, and mild. We chose mild since we had this soup in mind. In the past we’ve had a mix of heat, from set-your-tongue-on-fire hot, to just-a-little-warming-power mild. It seems that a lot of the differences come from how the chilies are grown, and, here in Arizona, ours seem to get their heat from the bright sun and 100+°F days.
You might not have this issue, depending on where you get your chilies, but we suggest that you taste a bit of each chili after roasting so you can judge how much you want to add to your soup. We tasted ours and went with all five from the bag, but this soup will be fine with less.
This recipe came from the spicy foods research staff here at Scratchin’ It headquarters.
The cumin will give this soup a vaguely southwestern flavor, but, if you don’t have any, it’ll be fine. We’ve also talked about tasting the chilies to help decide how many to add, but what about roasting? We got ours from the CSA pre-roasted, but, if you need to roast yours, simply wash and place under the broiler until the skin blackens, turning the peppers as needed. Or roast over an open gas burner (if you have a gas stove), or fire up the grill and roast them there. Regardless, once roasted, place in a paper bag for about 15 minutes while they cool. The steam will help loosen the skins. As always, we simply make our vegetable stock from scraps of vegetables that we collect through the week.
Procedure in detail:
Cook onions. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the onions, give them a little stir or shake, then sprinkle in the cumin, and some salt and pepper. The salt helps to draw out a bit of moisture, which makes the onions cook a bit faster. The cumin will change flavor a bit as it fries, and the pepper starts building up some flavors. Continue cooking, stirring off and on, until the onions are tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add garlic and chilies. Add the garlic and chopped green chilies. You’ll hear the chilies sizzle when they hit that pan, and that’s fine. Give everything a shake or stir, and, if you haven’t already cut up the potatoes, start working on those while the chilies cook for a few minutes.
Add potatoes and stock. Put the potato pieces into the pan and pour the stock over the top. Ideally, your stock should be room temperature or below, as cooking potatoes by starting in a cool liquid helps them hold their shape and not break apart. However, this soup would be good even if some potatoes disintegrated a bit.
Simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let the soup come to a simmer. Stir every once in a while and continue to simmer until the potatoes are tender.
Soup is our go-to comfort food. It’s easy to make and is always warming and satisfying. This soup, with the roasted green chilies, has a bit more warmth from the peppers, but not so much that you’re hopping around on one foot fanning your mouth. (We’ve had some chili dishes like that.) Instead, with mild chilies, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the amount of flavor they add, and it seems as if the potatoes help temper the heat. Overall, this is worth four stars.