Spring weather is so unpredictable in Northern New Mexico. We had a string of beautiful days with temperatures in the mid to high 60's. Then it snowed. Today it is 74 degrees. So I like to keep ingredients on hand to ensure I can be flexible with recipes. Greens..raw or sauteed? Pasta with grilled vegetables or a heavy red sauce? Or potatoes...cold salad or hot soup?
This potato soup is a perfect recipe to have on hand year round. Delicious hot, it also is nice warm or room temperature. The spicy red chile is actually cooling on a Summer day. And, while there is cheese in the soup, there is no cream or milk so the dish is lighter than you might expect. Cheese...red chile...potatoes. How good does this soup sound?
Cheddar Cheese & Red Chile Potato Soup
(serves 6 as a first course)
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp sea salt
3 pounds baking potatoes, unpeeled and cut in 2 inch dice
2 tbsp ground New Mexican red chile (see resources)
1 canned chipotle pepper, minced (optional, skip if you want less heat)
5 1/2 cups water
8 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 tbsp pure balsamic vinegar
coarse grey salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
2 tbsp snipped chives
Warm olive oil in a large saucepan or soup pot. Add onion and sauté over low heat until just beginning to caramelize (about 10 minutes). Add 2 tsp sea salt, potatoes, chile, chipotle and water. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat back to low, cover pan and simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are very tender when pierced with a knife.
Remove from heat and, using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. (alternatively, process in two batches in a blender...be very careful if using this method, the soup is very hot). **Note, I like my soup with a bit of texture (and the nutrients) from the potato skins so I stop at this point. If you want a more elegant soup, strain through a fine sieve to remove skin and onion bits**
Add mixture back to saucepan and place over low heat. Thin with additional water as desired. Stir in cheese until melted. Add balsamic vinegar and large pinch of pepper. Taste and, using sea salt, adjust seasonings if needed. Serve soup topped with cilantro leaves and chives.
It is "Something Cheesy" week at Food Network's Sensational Sides roundup. Check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends. Do you have favorite cheese recipe? Feel free to share in the comments section or link to your blog if you have one.
Weelicious: Mexican Rice Balls
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Cheesy Cheddar Mashed Cauliflower Potatoes
Feed Me Phoebe: Sausage, Pepper and Onion Frittata
Cooking With Elise: Parmesan Noodle Bake
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Grilled Cheese with Spicy Pickles, Pepper Jack and Garlic Aioli
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Cheese and Grilled Vegetable Quesadillas
Red or Green: Cheddar Cheese and Red Chile Potato Soup
Virtually Homemade: Grilled Asparagus with Tomato Salad and Goat Cheese
Domesticate Me: Parmesan Quinoa Risotto with Roasted Asparagus and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
The Sensitive Epicure: Easy Cheesy Puffs (Gluten-Free)
Dishin & Dishes: Baked Herbed Ricotta Spread
Taste With The Eyes: Shrimp, Haricots Verts and Garbanzo Beans with Feta
FN Dish: Cheesy Brunch Sides