Friday, March 23, 2012

a recipe for potato soup with red chile & cheddar cheese ?

i returned last week from a month-long trip to taos, new mexico.  the weather in napa was beautiful the entire time i was gone.  i kept reading on facebook about the warm weather and the sunshine.  the person taking care of my home needed to water frequently...i had assumed it would rain so much that this would not be required (sorry brooke!)  really napa?  temperatures in the 70s and no rain in february and early march?  normally it rains from january till may.

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 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 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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Thursday, March 1, 2012

you asked for the cheese enchiladas recipe?

in new mexico, enchiladas are served "stacked"...not rolled the way they are prepared in mexican cuisine.  i don't notice a difference in taste!...this version is so easy!!  this has become my "go to" dish when i have a large group of people to feed.  the stacked enchiladas, plus pinto beans, posole and a green salad create a simple and delicious menu for any size dinner party.

enchiladas are basically tortillas (usually corn), a filling, cheese and sauce.  southwestern style calls for either red or green sauce...or "christmas" which is both.   you really don't need a recipe....more like the here is the way i make cheese enchiladas with new mexican red chile sauce:

you will need to start with the sauce.  click here for the recipe.   note, the quantities i am providing make enough for 6 people with the side dishes mentioned above.  if you want just the enchiladas with a salad this serves 4.  you can double, triple, quadruple...whatever you like. just ensure you increase the pan size accordingly. or use more than one.  (my tip...make more then you think you will need...leftovers are delicious too.)

cheese enchiladas with new mexican red chile sauce
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
9 corn tortillas
1 lb extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 white onion, diced
2 scallions, minced  (white and green parts)
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
3 cups new mexican chile sauce

preheat oven to 350 degrees.  add the olive oil to a 2.2 qt casserole dish. use a paper towel or pastry brush to coat the dish with the oil.  pour 1 cup sauce into the bottom of the prepared dish and spread to cover.  use 4 tortillas to cover the sauce.  take 1 additional tortilla, tear in half, and the tear 1 half into 3 pieces.  use the pieces to cover up any gaps where sauce is showing.  sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese over the tortillas.  sprinkle 1/2 of the onions and 1/2 of the scallions over the cheese.  repeat with remaining tortillas, another cup of sauce, another 1/3 of the cheese and the onions and scallions.  cover with the remaining sauce and the rest of the cheese.

bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.  sprinkle cilantro over enchiladas and serve.  i like this dish with a crisp green salad tossed only with seasoned rice vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.  some people top their enchiladas with sour cream...i am not a fan (dilutes the taste too much for me)  but, if you like...feel free. :)