I realize some of you, upon seeing the title, are saying “Cream of what? Richard what are you trying to do to me?” Calm down… Yes, this is a red chile soup. Yes, it has a little heat. No, I haven’t lost my mind. This is simply an unbelievably flavorful soup and your choice of red chiles helps you control the amount of heat to fit your own taste, as well as the flavor profile of the soup. It is a wonderfully warming soup on a cold and blustery day. You really need to give this a try. Yes, you will like it. :)
The weather in Texas is being peculiar this year. It has been a rather warm and mild winter but there have been some cold snaps coming out of nowhere. Then they vanish almost as quickly as they came. Now, those of you in the Northern parts of the world used to subzero temperatures and that white stuff called snow, you have to remember that cold in DFW is when we dip into the 30s. We don’t deal with freezing weather very well nor do we see very much snow. In fact, we are surprised when it happens. We wander around at least half of the winter in short sleeve shirts and lightweight clothing with many people wearing flip flops or sandals. Then, there are days where we have unbelievably wide temperature swings. We’ll start the day off in the 50s, around noon we’ll be in the mid 60s or low 70s with the sun shining and finally in the early evening it’s overcast and temps are in the upper 30s and falling. Then, like today, you wake up, the temps are now in the low 40s and it’s raining but by mid-afternoon the sun is supposed to be out and we will reach 68 F. Go figure. It plays hell with my dinner plans because do you really want a hot bowl of soup when it’s in the 70s? How about a nice crisp, chilled salad when it’s in the 30s?
Yesterday, the weather was a little more cooperative. It stayed in the mid 40s and drizzled for most of the day. Perfect soup weather but what type of soup to fix. I wasn’t in the mood for a fish soup. Chicken noodle soup with fresh egg noodles would be nice but then I would have to make the pasta and I wasn’t in the mood to do that. I already had some pork and poblano chiles but was saving that for Chile Rellenos Nogada (coming soon). What to do? What to do? Tomato soup seemed like a wonderful idea. I had fresh tomatoes but I didn’t have any fresh basil. Hmmm…I stood in the kitchen pondering the reality of what’s in the pantry, the freezer and fridge. Then it dawned on me. How about a nice red chile soup. It would be a lovely soup. Look at its beautiful color. It would be hearty, satisfying and belly warming with a little kick of heat. Now, that’s what I am talking about. So, this is what we did.
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 6 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 3 chipotle mora chiles
- 3 ancho chiles
- 2 hot New Mexico red chiles
- 2 pickled chipotle chiles (recipe here), minced
- 1/2 tsp cumin, toasted and ground
- 1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup chihuahua cheese, grated to finish
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped for garnish
Except for the chipotles, seed the chiles and heat them on a comal or hot skillet until they become fragrant, roughly 15 seconds
Place all dried chiles (including the chipotle mora) in a glass bowl, cover with boiling water, roughly 1/2 to 1 cup, and weight down.
Soak for 20 – 30 minutes to rehydrate and soften the chiles.
While the chiles are soaking, add the olive oil, garlic and onions to a heavy bottom pot over medium heat.
Sauté until fragrant and the onions are translucent, roughly 8 minutes. Now add the tomatoes
and the chicken stock.
Cover the pot and gently simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching to tomatoes to the bottom of the pot. Simmer for roughly 30 – 45 minutes.
While the soup is simmering, after 20 – 30 minutes, remove the chiles from the water and chop.
After the soup has simmered for 30 – 45 minutes, add the chopped chiles to the soup.
Mince the pickled chipotles and add them to the soup.
Add the cumin
Add salt to taste and allow the soup to simmer for 15 – 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
After 15 – 20 minutes, add the heavy cream.
Stir to incorporate. Allow to cook another 3 – 5 minutes to heat through. Now, pour soup mixture into a vegetable mill and puree.
Put back on stove over medium heat. Adjust seasoning as needed and heat through. Ladle into bowls
Sprinkle a little cheese on top.
Finish with a little cilantro for garnish.
Serve & enjoy.
NOTES: If you do not have pickled chipotles and don’t want to make them, substitute 2 canned chipotle in adobo, 1 tsp brown sugar and 1 tsp lime juice for the pickled chipotles.
If the soup is a little too spicy for your tastes, substitute dried red anaheim peppers for the hot New Mexico red chiles and reduce the number of chipotle mora to 1. If, on the other hand, you want a little more spice then add more chipotle moras or a couple chile de arbol. If you want a little more earthiness, add a pasilla negra chile to the mix. You can customize this soup however you like. Baby Lady preferred her soup with Mexican creme as opposed to the cheese. You can also use sour cream. Again, whatever you like. You can make it your way. Just make it. :)