Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sweet Potato, Chipotle, and Apple Soup

I've been staying with R's sister and brother-in-law while I'm unemployed (not going there), and needless to say, I have a little more time on my hands than usual. It does not mean, though, that I've been cooking more than usual. It mostly means that I've been reading and thinking more about cooking than usual. There's something kind of funny about cooking in someone else's kitchen. You don't know where anything is, and you don't want to take over someone else's space.

However, for one night, I did. One huge upside to being a guest in this kitchen is that R's brother-in-law religiously makes chicken broth from any bone that makes it into the house, so I no longer use any of that canned stuff (at least not this month).

This recipe for Sweet Potato, Chipotle and Apple Soup came from Food & Wine Magazine. In the original recipe, the tortillas are deep-fried and dusted with cinnamon sugar. I just warmed them in a pan with a little oil & did away with the sugar (though I'm sure it would have been tasty). I also added some chicken baked with a little of the leftover adobo sauce from the can of chipotles to make this an entree-worthy soup.

Sweet Potato, Chipotle and Apple Soup
2 T. vegetable oil, plus more for frying or sauteeing tortillas
1/2 med. white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 t. finely grated fresh ginger
2 Gala apples--peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 celery rib, thinly sliced crosswise (I used 2 or three--otherwise, I find it hard to use up the whole bunch of celery)
1-3/4 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 qt. chicken stock or low-sodium broth
3 c. water
1 sm. canned chipotle in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
Salt and pepper
3 (or more--I used a bunch) corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch strips
Baked chicken, shredded. The chicken can be baked while the soup simmers.

1. In a med. soup pot, heat 2 T. of the oil until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook over low heat, stirring, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the apples and celery and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and water and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over low heat until the fruit and vegetables are very tender, about 45 minutes. Stir in the chipotle.

2. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and return to the pot.

3. Heat a bit more oil in a medium skillet over medium heat (the amount depends on how many tortillas you're using, but I'd say 2 t. per 3 tortillas is fine). Add the tortilla strips and saute them until they start to get golden. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Serve the soup in shallow bowls and garnish with tortilla strips and shredded chicken.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Not so Little Vineyards

The wine tasting trips never seem to end, especially with so many friends crashing on our floor.

We had our most memorable wine stop yet at Little Vineyards in Glen Ellen. The wine was delicious (it was our last stop of the day, so it's pretty hard for me to say anything about the wine with confidence), and OH the people!

It began with the usual swirling and sniffing, but soon the owner pulled out his chapman stick, R's sister was singing Mercedes Benz, and we were all pouring wine into our own glasses (we were past all that. . .). And it was all being caught incriminatingly on tape.

You must go there. Now.