Wednesday, December 21, 2005

TAGS food

Sopa de Mezclada

Picked up this one during my days in Xalapa, Veracruzana in '00. 

Sopa de Mezclada

Cut two onions, three potatoes (onions and potatoes: fist-sized) and 10-14 large carrots into big chunks.  Drop them in a pot with water just below the top of the vegetables.  The onions will reduce into liquid while boiling, so the space they take up is temporary.  Salt the water; I don't know, a teaspoon or two.  Cover and boil for thirty or forty minutes until everything is soft.  The smaller you cut everything, the faster this part will go, but I don't have any patience for working the vegetables when I know they're going to end up blended.

When the vegetables have softened (if in doubt, remove a carrot, check it), cut the ends off of a single green chile (alternative: a jalapeno) and drop it in the boiling mix.  Cover the pot again and give it another 7-10 minutes.  Basically, this just softens the pepper.  You could go to all the trouble of preparing the chile in other, more complicated ways, but basically I want it to soften so I can remove it to cool, slice it lengthwise, pull out the seeds, and have it ready to join up smoothly with everything else in the blender (that's next).

When the vegetables are soft, you should transfer them to a holding bowl or alt. pot for blending.  I transfer them so I can easily empty the blended soup into the original pot.  Next, use a ladle to fill the blender between 2/3 and 3/4 with the boiled vegetables and the hot liquid they cooked in. Then I add 2% milk to fill the blender just a bit more; somewhere close to 7/8 full.  Then blend.  I'd say it works best when you have enough liquid to incorporate the vegetables.  You want them to be smooth (unless you prefer chunks in the soup; if that's the case, best of luck).  Blend and blend.  And then pour the blend-pitcher into the original pot.  Repeat.  Be sure to work in the green chile.  It adds the kick. 

Eventually you'll have a steamy concoction of more or less creamy vegetable soup, carrot soup in this example.  Next I  add about three or four teaspoons of dry chicken or vegetable bullion, then let it simmer for another thirty minutes.  Sure, extra pepper and salt are fine additions, too.  And if you decide to sub out the carrots and use squash instead, consider adding ginger (for a nice cream of gingery squash soup).  Actually, you can replace the carrots with just about anything--zucchini, asparagus, etc.  And, if you're into richer dairy (as in something creamier), leave out the potatoes and use a heavier cream.  I'm not so fond of the dairy products, so I include the potatoes for thickening and use a bit of milk. 

That's all.  I know it's not the kind of recipe circulated by cooking-types inclined to strict measures.  But it's relatively light, uncomplicated and just spicy enough to ward off the common cold or offset a drafty window with some lasting warmth (yes, and also gentle on grad student budgets).  Enjoy it with some quick-nuked quesadillas (tortillas, cheese(s) of choice, etc.) or something more elaborate if you're planning a fancier meal.  Also keep a lime on hand in case anyone finds the soup too spicy.  A squeeze of fresh lime juice will cut the spice-heat by a bit.

If you're unimpressed, here's last December's solstice recipe.

Bookmark and Share Posted by at December 21, 2005 8:30 PM to Gobstuff

I'm impressed. Sounds wonderful. In Ireland and Scotland in '04, we ate gallons of carrot & coriander soup, and a creamy veg soup that makes Sara giddy. I still haven't been able to replicate it, but we'll figure it out.

And screw the strict measures. The eating is more important than the cooking, so the taste is more important than the measures.

BTW, I'd forgotten about the whiskey slush. oh, baby. I predict a good week betwixt Christmas and New Years...

Posted by: pat at December 22, 2005 9:58 AM

The slush is a guaranteed good time all year around. In the winter, if you mix up too much, it'll keep in any snow bank. And the soup is easy, also easily modified (practically any kind of veggies you've got). Tastes good. Frees up time for other stuff. Goes well with chex mix.

Posted by: Derek at December 22, 2005 12:28 PM