of course the day i returned it started raining...and raining and raining. again, really napa? i know we need the rain, but couldn't this have happened while i was gone? i checked out the 10 day forecast today and...you guessed it...rain for the next 10 days.
when the weather is cold, and dark and wet i start craving soup. a big bowl of delicious soup and excellent bread just makes me feel better...and happier...comforted somehow. so last sunday i made potato soup with red chile & cheddar cheese. what a perfect choice...spicy from the red chile and chipotle, thick from the potatoes, rich from the cheese...but not too rich because the soup is made with water, no cream or milk. i loved the soup and wrote about it on facebook and asked what everyone else was making for dinner that night. immediately, my friend linda posted "homemade cabbage soup". my friend rachelle posted "black bean soup and corn bread muffins!" two friends asked if they could have some of the leftovers the next day for lunch. who doesn't love soup? do you have a favorite soup recipe? please share in the comments section below.
potato soup with red chile & cheddar cheese
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp sea salt
3 pounds baking potatoes, unpeeled and cut in 2 inch dice
2 tbsp ground new mexican red chile
1 canned chipotle pepper, minced (optional, skip if you want less heat)
5 1/2 cups water
8 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 tbsp pure balsamic vinegar
coarse grey salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
2 tbsp snipped chives
warm olive oil in a large saucepan. add onion and sauté over love heat until just beginning to caramelize (about 10 minutes). add the 2 tsp sea salt, potatoes, chile, chipotle and water. increase heat to high and bring to a boil. reduce heat back to low, cover pan and simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are very tender when pierced with a knife.
remove from heat and, using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. (alternatively, process in two batches in a blender...be very careful if using this method, the soup is very hot). **note, i like my soup with a bit of texture (and the nutrients) from the potato skins so i stop at this point. if you want a more elegant soup, strain through a fine sieve to remove skin and onion bits**
add mixture back to saucepan and place over low heat. thin with additional water as desired. stir in cheese until melted. add balsamic vinegar and large pinch of pepper. taste and, using grey salt, adjust salt if needed. serve soup topped with cilantro leaves and chives.
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