Roasted Pepper and Tomato soup

roasted pepper and tomato soup - trust in kim

 

This is a flavourful, somewhat spicy, and quite healthy soup – a perfect storm for me.

I created this soup to use up some chicken stock and red peppers that I had in my fridge, as well as some fresh corn that a friend brought over.  I’ve never made such a big batch of chicken stock, and ran out of room in my tiny freezer – this was a great way to use it up.  It’s got roasted bell and poblano peppers, as well as a dried ancho chile pureed into the tomatoes – I think the anchos are what takes this recipe to the next level, and I will definitely use this strategy of adding flavour into recipes in the future.

This would be great topped with avocado, or cilantro, or some Mexican crumbling cheese. And a wedge of lime to squeeze in.

Just a word about the roasted peppers: I know that some people like to get rid of every trace of the skin by washing the peppers, but I like to keep little bits of the skin on. This way it reminds me of the amazing sauces I ate in Mexico.  You always knew they were homemade and delicious if they had those flecks of black skin in them.

What you need:

  • 1 dried ancho chile
  • 1 – 398mL/14 oz fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 a large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 chicken breast or 2 thighs (omit for vegetarians!)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 – 425 grams / 15 oz can of pinto beans, drained
  • 2 ears of fresh corn (substitute with peaches and cream canned corn  – I don’t personally like frozen)
  • 4-6 cups chicken broth (substitute vegetable broth)
  • optional:
  • lime
  • avocado
  • Mexican crumbling cheese
  • cilantro
  • hot sauce for those who like it

What you do:

  1. Roast the peppers over a gas stove or barbecue, turning frequently with tongs until all the skin is charred and black.  Place in a container fitted with a lid until it cools a bit, 10-15 minutes.
  2. Roast the dry ancho chile very briefly over the flame, then remove the stem and seeds.  Add this to a blender along with the can of tomatoes.  Puree until smooth.
  3. In a large pot over a medium flame drizzle in a little olive oil (I use less than 1 tablespoon).  Add the onions and cook, stirring from time to time, for a few minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another few minutes, but don’t let the garlic brown.
  4. Add the chicken, if you are using it, and let that cook for a few minutes before pouring in the broth and tomato/ancho mixture. Let this simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove the chicken and chop it up, then add it back to the soup.
  5. Meanwhile, remove the blackened skin from the peppers, then remove the stem and seeds.   Chop the peppers, then add them to the soup.
  6. Drain and rinse the beans and add them to the soup.  Cut the corn off the cobs and add that to the soup.  Let this simmer for a few minutes, then season with salt and a little pepper to taste.
  7. Garnish with toppings of your choice.

Green Gazpacho

green gazpacho - trust in kim

This soup is awesome! I was a little hesitant at first, as I’m not a big fan of green bell peppers, but since I have loved red gazpacho so much I thought I should at least give this a try.  After all, Yotam Ottolenghi wrote in his lovely cookbook Plenty that this is by far his favourite cold soup, so it must be good.  It is now one of my top favourites too.  It has so much flavour, and it’s got lots of healthy ingredients.  I made one big change, though – the recipe serving six people called for one whole cup! of olive oil! I cut that down to 1/4 cup.  Still takes great, and I feel better knowing I’m not eating almost 3 tablespoons of oil per serving.

While there is no cooking, there’s a bit of chopping, and then blending, so it’s not as quick as I thought it would be.  But it is totally worth a little extra chopping.

What you need:

  • 2 celery stalks (including leaves)
  • 2 small green bell peppers
  • 6 mini cucumbers (1 & 1/4 lbs), peeled
  • 3 slices stale white bread with crusts removed
  • 1 fresh green chile (I used a jalapeno)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 4 tablespoons sherry vinegar (I used white balsamic vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt (I just used my plain yogurt)
  • about 2 cups cold water
  • 9 oz ice cubes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • white pepper (I just used black)

What you do:

  1.  Lightly toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan or in the oven. Let them cool.
  2. Roughly chop the celery, bell peppers, cucumbers, bread, chile and garlic and place it in a blender. If you are using an immersion blender, as I did, just put the ingredients into a large bowl.  If you have the option to use a blender I recommend that, as it would be a bit easier to get the right consistency for all the vegetables.  Add the sugar, walnuts, spinach, basil, parsley, vinegar, oil, yogurt, most of the water, half of the ice cubes, salt, and some pepper.  Puree until smooth.  Add more water if you need, in order to get the right consistency.  Taste and adjust seasonings if you need to.
  3. Add the remaining ice and blend for just a second or two to break it up a little.
  4. Serve with homemade croutons or a few walnuts sprinkled on top.

This makes 6 very generous portions.  I cut the recipe in half, which would be a great option for a starter-sized portion.

 

Mexican Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Mexican Soup - trust in kim

Last weekend I was planning to have friends over for dinner, and I wanted to make a pot of soup and a loaf of bread, so I made up my own version of a Mexican soup. It’s got some chicken, beans, and lots of vegetables including a few kinds of peppers.  I served it with Mexican farm cheese, some cilantro, and a squirt of lime on top.  Hot sauce optional.  I also made a vegetarian version.  This was a great recipe to make for a bunch of people, and it was enjoyed by both adults and children.

I roasted the peppers and tomatillos on my gas stove but you could do this on the barbecue, or under the broiler.

What you need:

  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 6 tomatillos
  • olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 serrano pepper, minced
  • 1 dried guajillo pepper
  • 2 cans pinto beans, drained
  • 1 can peaches and cream corn
  • 4 limes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cilantro
  • Mexican farm cheese

What you do:

  1. Roast the poblano and bell peppers over a flame, turning often, until the skin is blackened all over.  Put the peppers into a container with a lid on it, and let them sit for about 20 minutes.  Continue with the other preparations, then go back to the peppers and remove their skin and seeds.  It’s okay if there are pieces of blackened skin remaining; those flecks will add character to the soup.
  2. Remove the husks from the tomatillos and roast them until they are lightly blackened and only a little softened. Set them aside.
  3. In a large pot heat a little olive oil and add the diced onions.  Cook for a few minutes, until they are becoming translucent, then add the garlic and cook for about a minute, stirring a bit.
  4. Add the chicken thighs and cook for a few minutes on each side.
  5. Add the chicken stock, minced serrano, and the whole guajillo pepper.
  6. Let this cook for about 20 minutes, then add the drained pinto beans.  Chop the roasted peppers and tomatillos and add them to the pot.  Let this cook for about 20-30 minutes.
  7. Take the chicken out and cut it into large chunks, then pull it with a fork so you’ve got stringy bits of chicken instead of cubes.
  8. Add the corn before serving and heat through, along with the juice of two limes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve with some chopped cilantro on top, a sprinkling of the farm cheese.  Set out some hot sauce so people can add as much heat as they like.

roasting poblano peppers - trust in  kim

 

roasting tomatillos - trust in kim

Vegetarian Mexican Soup Broth

Vegetarian Mexican Broth - trust in kim

This recipe is for the vegetarian version of a Mexican soup I made recently.  It’s got a little kick to it because of the guajillo pepper

What you need:

  • 1 small onion or half a big one
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 dried guajillo pepper
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk celery
  • half a dozen peppercorns
  • cilantro stalks

What you do:

  1. Put everything in a pot and add about 4 cups of water.  Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about half an hour.
  2. Strain the veggies out and use the broth to make a soup.

Vegan “Cream” of Mushroom Soup #2

vegan cream of mushroom soup - trust in kim

The “cream” in this soup is pureed cashews; they add creaminess without dairy, but also a hint of sweetness.  And it doesn’t taste like soup with nuts in it.

This yummy soup is one I’ve made before, but this time I kept some of the mushroom slices whole instead of blending them all in.  I really like that little mushroomy bite, both for the texture and the flavour.  I also used some dried mixed wild mushrooms in this version.

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • a few dried wild mushrooms (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cups vegetable broth (I used chicken)
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • salt to taste

For the Cashew Cream:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup water

What you do:

  1. Soak the cashews in the half cup of water and set aside.
  2. Soak the dried mushrooms in about 1/4 cup boiling water.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat and add the chopped onions, sautéing them until they are slightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more, then add the mushrooms, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Set a small bowl of the fried mushrooms aside to mix in later.
  4. Add the broth and the dried mushrooms along with their soaking liquid if you’re using them.  Cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, puree the cashews until they combine with the water to make a smooth, thick liquid.
  6. When it is ready, blend the soup until there are no large chunks of mushroom.  Stir in the cashew cream.  The original recipe says to strain the soup now, but I liked it the way it was.
  7. Season with pepper, and possibly with salt.  Because it has soy sauce you may not need the salt.
  8. Reheat the soup and serve with some fried mushroom slices on top.

This works well as leftovers, and for freezing.

vegan cream of mushroom with cheese toasts - trust in kim

3 Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

grilled cheese sandwich - trust in kim

 

Having just made some homemade tomato soup, and knowing how much my sweetie would love it, I made up this grilled cheese sandwich for dipping in the soup.  While the photo doesn’t look like the cheese was gooey, it really was.  And the combination of cheeses was awesome.

What you need:

  • 2 slices whole grain bread (I used Uprising Breads)
  • cheese – I used some Havarti, aged Gouda, and Asiago
  • butter

What you do:

  1. Cut some slices of each cheese.
  2. Heat a frying pan to medium and add some butter.  Put one slice of bread into the pan and layer the cheese on top of it.  Put the other bread slice on top, then turn the heat down to medium low and let it fry for a minute or two.
  3. Add a little more butter to the pan, then flip the sandwich.  I flipped it a few times through the cooking process to make sure it didn’t burn. You want to toast the bread nicely and melt the cheese at the same time.  The lower heat helps to accomplish this. I tend to go easy on the butter, but I know that using more makes it taste extra good, so do what you feel right about.
  4. Remove the sandwich from the pan when the cheese is gooey and cut it into halves or quarters.  Serve while hot with a bowl of tomato soup.

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup

vegan cream of mushroom soup - trust in kim

I love creamy soups, but I don’t love cream, so I’m always looking for ways to get the texture and taste without the heaviness of cream.  I’ve heard of using cashew cream before, and finally got around to trying it.  The verdict? So good! Next time I’d leave some of the mushroom pieces whole, but this is great as is.

I found this recipe on Joy the Baker.

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cups vegetable broth (I used chicken)
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • salt to taste

For the Cashew Cream:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup water

What you do:

  1. Soak the cashews in the half cup of water and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat and add the onions, sautéing them until they are slightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more, then add the mushrooms, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the broth and cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, puree the cashews until they combine with the water to make a smooth, thick liquid.
  5. When it is ready blend the soup until there are no large chunks of mushroom.  Stir in the cashew cream.  The original recipe says to strain the soup now, but I liked it the way it was.
  6. Reheat the soup and serve.

This one also freezes well. Enjoy!