February 2016 - Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Green Chiles and Smoked Chicken

  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons ground cayenne pepper or small red chilies
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon each ground mace, cloves, and cumin
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 quarts light chicken stock
  • 4 large roasted red bell peppers, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
  • 3 roasted California or other long green chiles, seeded, stemmed, and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 cup cubed or shredded smoked chicken or turkey meat
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup crème fraiche, for garnish

Sweet, mild red bell peppers combined with fiery dried chiles form the base of this beautiful red soup. The smoky taste of both the roasted peppers and the chicken make for a flavorful and unusual cold-weather dish. If you prefer a milder soup, reduce the amount of cayenne or small red chilies to 1½ tablespoons. Serve warm tortillas or tortilla chips and a green salad alongside. Makes 6 to 8 servings. Hottest: Rated 10.

In a large soup pot, cook the onion, garlic, and spices in the olive oil and butter over moderate heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chicken stock and red peppers and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook for 15 minutes.

Cool the soup mixture to room temperature. Purée in a blender until smooth. Strain it through a fine wire mesh, and return it to the saucepan.

Bring the soup to a boil over high heat. Cook for 15 minutes over high heat, stirring frequently. Add all but a few strips of the roasted green chiles (chip the remaining chiles for garnish) and the chicken. Reduce heat to moderate and cook for 15 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper, and serve with a drizzle of crème fraiche and the chopped bits of the remaining green chiles.