Monday, March 31, 2014

Family Favorite: Green Chile Soup

Dusty and I don't force our girls to eat all their dinner; we encourage them through bribery. It used to be that if the girls joined the Clean Plate Club, they would get dessert right afterward, but that meant they were getting a giant sugar rush right before bedtime. Yeah... No. So now 1 clean plate = 1 treat coupon. 

A treat coupon can be traded in for any treat starting after lunch the day after you earn the coupon. It's fascinating to watch how their asset management skills are developing. Tala will get a coupon and spend it as soon as she is able. Diana stockpiles her coupons and if she is not particularly fond of a dinner, she will ask to be excused so she can check on her coupon stash. If she has enough coupons to at least get a treat the next day, she decides not to finish dinner. This kid is going to build empires.

Some weeks are better than others, and each girl earns three or more coupons. Some weeks are not so good, though, and on those weeks I try to make at least one dinner that I know for sure will help them each earn a coupon. One of those meals is green chile soup.

Warm and yummy in my belly, like love in a bowl.

I'm sure some of you New Mexicans out there are 47 kinds of upset right now because I called it "soup" and not "stew", but in this house we call a spade a spade and liquid meals soup. Or a smoothie. Or beer.

Maybe I'll be forgiven if I tell you that I use freshly roasted pasilla chiles. YES WAY. I wish I had one of those awesome bingo-drum roasters that we see all over New Mexico in the autumn, but I don't, so I just broil my pasillas in the oven. It is a bit time-consuming, so I try to roast a bunch at a time and store the chile in the freezer. Here's what I do:

Broil them in high heat until they blister like this. Using tongs, turn them frequently to get even blistering on all sides.
Take them out of the oven and plunge them in an ice bath. 
Peel the skins off and remove most of the seeds inside. I leave a few seeds for THE HOTNESS. YASSS!!

There are three things you need to know about handling chiles:
1) Wear gloves. Do not touch chiles with bare hands.
2) Do not touch your eyes, mouth, or skin while you are handling chiles. The burn is hotter than the twin suns of Tattooine.
3) Seriously, wear gloves. And if you're particularly sensitive, maybe wear protective glasses.
Put the chiles in the food processor and wazz them up. Yes, I just totally made up that word.
If you do not have the time nor the inclination to roast your own chiles, Trader Joe's makes a passable canned version. 

Look how much prettier and yummier the freshly roasted chile is, though.
All righty! Let's make some soup!


Family Favorite: Green Chile Soup

Prep time, if roasting chiles: ~45 minutes
Prep time, with pre-roasted chiles: ~20 minutes
Cook time: ~30 minutes
Serves 2 adults and 2 small kids

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic
1 lb ground turkey or pork (We prefer turkey.)
1 lb potatoes, cubed
1/2 lb frozen vegetable medley* (carrots, peas, corn, green beans)
water
chile to taste 
salt to taste 

Directions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a 1-quart saucepan. Toss in the onion and some salt and saute for 1 minute. Add the garlic and the turkey. Cook until turkey is no longer pink.
  2. Add potatoes and vegetable medley. *You can use fresh carrots, peas, corn, and green beans. I use the frozen medley because I'm old and lazy.
  3. Add just enough water to cover everything. Stir in the chile. Generally, I start with ~3 tbsp in the soup and have a small bowl of chile on the side for those who want more.
  4. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Salt to taste.
  5. Serve with warm tortillas.

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