Chipotle Spiced Veggie Soup - Making 2013 lively.

There is nothing in the world that I despise more than shopping for a car. Unfortunately; my husband and I have found ourselves at that point where we can keep putting money into our aging vehicle, or invest in a new one.  I know that the latter is in our best interest, but how I dread the process of getting a new car. (What a way to start 2013!) I needed to mentally prepare myself and get to a Zen state of mind. 

Two car dealerships down and it wasn’t too bad. I am not sure if it was the latte and chocolate chip cookie (provisions for my Zen state) or if we were completely lucky?  By the time we were back at home I was tiered. I think I stressed myself out over the whole event and I just needed to chill out for a while. By the time evening came about needed to shake the stress of the day and arouse my liveliness.  Nothing does that better then something spicy with a bit of sweetness for dinner.

Lucky for us I made stock yesterday. With stock in the refrigerator, and an array of veggies I whipped up a soup. Adding some chipotle to it brings a nice smoky and spicy layer to it all. Placing homemade garlic croutons in the soup gave it the contrast in texture that the soup needed. By adding just a bit of sour cream to each bowl made the soup even more rich and creamy. What a way shake the anxiety of car shopping, perfect way to end a day.  I just wonder what I will mix up next in the kitchen to get me through the car shopping experience.

Chipolte Spiced Vegetable Soup

Chipotle Spiced Veggie Soup (serves 4 – 6)

3 medium sweet potatoes

3 large carrots

2 medium parsnips

1 large onion

(All the above peeled and chopped)

1 tbsp of butter

1 ½ tsp of chipotle powder

1 ½ - 2 quarts of veggie stock

Sea salt to taste

Sour Cream for finishing

Garlic Croutons - recipe to follow

First, place a six quart pot over medium heat. When your pot is warmed through place your bitter in it to melt and add in the veggies to it, stirring it well. Let the veggies gently simmer together and stir often to be sure it does not stick. (You may need to lower your heat to prevent the sticking from occurring.) Once your onion begins to become somewhat translucent you can sprinkle your chipotle powder over it all and stir well again.

Next, when your veggies are sizzling and your chipotle powder is fragrant you can poor your veggie stock over it all. Be sure there is enough stock to cover it all by at least a ½ an inch. Let it all simmer together until your liquid is reduced a bit and your vegies are tender when pierced. Remove from the heat and let cool a bit.

Then, when your soup mixture is somewhat cooled down you can puree it in batches in a food processor or using an emersion blender. Once your mixture is smooth return it all to your pot and place it again over medium heat. You can taste and season it with sea salt if necessary.  If you feel the soup is too thin you can reduce it bit more keeping a close eye on it and stirring it constantly until you reach the desired thickness you wish for.

Finally, on plating and serving ladle the soup into your bowls. Sprinkle each bowl with the garlic croutons and then top with a dollop of sour cream upon serving. Keep extra croutons out for seconds, you will have a hard time resisting them.

Garlic Croutons

About 3 cups of cubed bread (Sour dough, baguette, crusty white or wheat)

½ cup or more of olive oil

2 tsp of kosher Salt

¼ tsp of black pepper (freshly ground)

1 -2 cloves of garlic, minced

First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil and set side.

Next; in a bowl mix together your olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic. To the bowl add your bread cubes. Toss all together real well to coat the bread cubes.

Then, spread the tossed bread cubes on your prepped baking sheet. Be sure the garlic is not clumped up and spread throughout the mixture.  If the bread cubes seem too dry, and not moist enough from the olive oil drizzle a bit more of the olive oil over the bread cubes.

Finally, place the bread cubes in your oven and bake about 10 – 15 minutes. You want to see the bread turning golden and evenly toasted. (Timing of cooking may depend on the size of your bread cubes and about of olive oil used.) Remove from the oven when bread cubes are evenly toasted and  cool slightly before using.