Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Recipe: Spicy Tomato & Lime Soup with Cheese Quesadilla

When I was a kid, my favorite lunch was tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, the most comforting of comfort foods. Of course, it being the 1970's and all, it was Campbell's Cream of Tomato Soup and grilled cheese made with Velveeta or Kraft singles on Town Talk Bread (and if you're not from Pittsburgh, you are, right now, scratching your head.) If I was home from school, this is the lunch I always asked my mother to make. Always. Just the thought of tomato soup and grilled cheese makes me want to curl up on the sofa and watch reruns of Green Acres.

But I'm all grown up now and I can't remember the last time I had Campbell's soup, so this is my grown up version of tomato soup and grilled cheese -- my Tex Mex riff on that staple. It hits many of the same flavor notes, but bumps it up. It's simple, fast and delicious. And way better than any canned tomato soup you can find out there -- no matter how swanky the packaging or the pricetag.

You will need:
1 or 2 jalapeno peppers -- finely diced
1 poblano pepper -- finely diced
1 large yellow or vidalia onion -- finely diced
1 clove garlic -- finely diced
2 to 3 limes -- juiced
32 ounces of vegetable stock
1 large can of finely diced tomatoes, or about a half dozen finely diced fresh tomatoes when they're in season (not quite yet here ...)
2 T. of ground cumin
1/2 t. of ancho chili powder
small bundle of fresh cilantro, diced
grated cheese -- cheddar, jack, queso fresco -- whatever you like
fresh tortillas

The Prep:
The quesadillas will take just a hot minute, but the soup will take about 30 minutes. In a large soup pot, heat some olive oil, then add the onions, garlic and peppers. Add a pinch of salt and let them sweat. Once soft (after about 10 minutes), add the tomatoes, the cumin and the chili powder. Cook for another five minutes or so, then add the veg. stock. Bring that to a boil, then reduce to a simmer over reduced heat for about 15 minutes. Add the lime juice and the cilantro for the last few minutes of cooking.

While you're doing that, you can make the quesadilla. I just do them stovetop in a non-stick pan, and, as always, the better quality tortillas, the better the quesadilla, so if you can get fresh tortillas from a good Mexican market, do it. I favor the fresh tortillas from La Reyna in the Strip.

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