Potato Chili Cheese Soup
Use fresh Anaheim or poblano chilies, if available. Also
called mild green chiles, even though they are slightly hot, Anaheims are long
and pale green. Poblanos are dark green and triangular. Both types are available
in specialty markets and many supermarkets.
To save time, grate cheese with a food processor's grating
attachment. Then remove the cheese; change to the steel blade; and, without
cleaning the machine, use it again for pureeing the potatoes.
Use dry and powdery russet potatoes in this recipe rather
than a waxy variety. Russets puree nicely, while waxier potatoes turn gluey in
the blender or food processor.
4 medium (3-inch diameter) russet potatoes
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1½ cups chopped onion
1 medium bell pepper (any color), diced
2 medium Anaheim or poblano chilies, minced
1½ teaspoons salt or more
1½ teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1½ cups milk, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) grated Monterey Jack cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Minced basil, scallions and cilantro for garnish
Scrub potatoes and cut them into small chunks (size
unimportant). Place them in a large pot with 3 cups water and bring to a boil.
Lower heat to a simmer, partially cover and cook until tender (15 minutes or
so). Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over
medium heat. Add onion and cook for several minutes, then add the bell pepper,
chilies, salt to taste, cumin and garlic. Saute over medium heat until
vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
Puree potatoes in their cooking water, using a blender or food processor. (If it
seems too thick, add a little extra water.) Add puree to sauteed vegetables,
then stir in the milk until well-blended.
Heat the soup very slowly, being careful not to cook it. When
it is hot, stir in the cheese and grind in some fresh black pepper.
Serve hot, topped with a light sprinkling of fresh herbs.
Makes 5 to 6 servings.