A comforting soup flavoured with four different types of chillies, served with grilled cheese Quesadillas.
This is essentially soup and sandwiches – comfort food, Mexican style.
The soup is flavoured with four different chillies – Ancho, Guajillo, Chipotle and red chillies. The soup is rich, Smokey and very delicious with its flavour coming from a wonderful paste made from pan roasting the chillies along with tomatoes bell peppers, garlic, onions and spices. Charring these in a pan before blending makes such a difference and really brings the flavours to life. Diced carrot and celery are fried, stock is added, then the paste followed by a good simmer. Before serving diced bell peppers, more sliced red chillies, diced onion and some fresh coriander leaf are added to give the soup texture and freshness.
The Quesadillas are the perfect accompaniment and very easy to make – just don’t tell anyone how easy! They can be made in minutes, and eaten even quicker.
Soup gives 4 portions
Quesadillas recipe for 2 persons
Cooking time 40 minutes
1 stick celery – dice
1 medium size carrot – peel, dice
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
3 small white onions – leave whole with skin on
1 ancho chilli
1 guajillo chilli
2 red chillies – thinly slice one chilli, Set aside in a bowl
4 cloves garlic – leave skin on the cloves
1 orange bell pepper – dice half the pepper, set aside in a bowl
1 red bell pepper – dice half the pepper, set aside in a bowl
1 red onion – dice, set aside in a bowl
Generous handful of fresh coriander – keep a few stalks aside and roughly chop the rest
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp chipotle paste
1/2 tsp oregano
4 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1.5 litres chicken stock
Method: Start by warming a large flat pan or griddle over a medium heat. Place the tomatoes, garlic, the chillies, half the bell peppers and onions on and dry fry until they become slightly charred, for approx. 7-8 minutes, turning halfway through. Add the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and dry fry until the spices become aromatic.
Remove the contents from the pan, add the spices to a food processor and leave the rest on a chopping board to cool for a few minutes. Once cooled remove the skins from the garlic and onions, but leave the skins on the peppers and tomatoes. Add everything to the food processor along with a few coriander stalks, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 2 tsp chipotle paste, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp oregano and 4 tsp brown sugar. Blitz until a smooth paste is formed, make sure you blend it well as the smoother the paste the smoother the final soup.
Add 1-2 tbsp. of olive oil to a deep soup pan over a medium heat, once hot add the diced carrot and celery and fry for 4-5 minutes until softened. Next add the chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Now add the paste and stir well, bring back to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Complete the soup by adding the diced bell peppers, onion and sliced chilli then simmer for a further 5 minutes – enough to heat these through but not so long that they loose their texture. As a final step add the chopped coriander and stir through. The soup is now ready to serve.
4 corn tortillas (2 per person)
Canola oil – in a spray or ramekin with pastry brush
2 handfuls of sweetcorn
2 medium tomatoes – diced
1 small red onion – diced
Handful of coriander – roughly chopped
150g strong cheddar cheese – grated
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Pinch of sea salt
Garlic mayonnaise – optional, to serve
Barbeque sauce – optional, to serve
Method: Begin by pre heating your oven to 170°c, and warm a flat frying pan over a medium heat.
In a large glass bowl, mix the tomatoes, sweetcorn, coriander leaf, ground coriander, ground cumin, smoked paprika, salt and cheddar cheese.
Spray one side of the corn tortillas with canola oil then heat the tortilla on that side until golden, remove and repeat with the rest of the tortillas.
Assemble the quesadillas by spooning the mixture on the non cooked side of the tortillas then like a sandwich place another tortilla on top. Place the assembled quesadillas on a baking tray and heat them through in the oven for approx. 15 minutes, until the cheese in the mixture melts – this could be slightly quicker or slower depending upon how big the tortillas are and how much filling you have added.
Remove them from the oven, let them cool slightly then cut into quarters. As an optional garnish drizzle some garlic mayonnaise and some barbeque sauce over them.
King prawns and swimming crab in a delicious prawn stock flavoured with tomato, chipotle, guajillo, garlic and bell pepper. Garnished with strips of fried corn tortilla, red onion, sliced chilli, avocado and coriander leaf.
This recipe is far simpler than it looks, and is made in three easy stages – making a prawn shell stock, making a paste to flavour the stock, then adding the meat and the garnishes.
Like all great soups it is important to get the absolute maximum flavour out of the ingredients, the garnishes not only look pretty but add extra flavour and different textures to the dish.
You must use whole raw king prawns for this dish, although tinned crab meat is ok. You require a mini chopper, blender or food processor for this recipe.
Serves Two people
Preparation and cooking 45-50 minutes
Shells and heads from 250-300g raw king prawns – keep meat separate
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 carrot – peel, thinly slice
1 stick celery – thinly slice
1 onion – peel, slice
2 bay leaves
1-2 tbsp. coriander leaf and stalk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Method: Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium high heat. Add the raw prawn shells and stir-fry until they all change from grey to pink. Add the onion, bay, carrot and celery and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes.
Add the water, bring to the boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Add the salt, pepper and coriander and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool then strain the stock, ensuring that you squeeze all the juice out of the shells. Set aside for later.
3 dried guajillo chillies – soak in water for 30 minutes, discard liquid
3 large round tomatoes
6 cloves garlic – leave skin on, see method
1 large white onion
1 tsp chipotle paste
1 red bell pepper – remove stalk and seeds, cut into quarters
1 fish stock cube – I use knorr stock cubes
Method: Heat a large non stick frying pan over a medium heat until hot. Add the tomatoes, bell peppers, guajillo chillies and the onion. Dry fry these, turning occasionally for 15-20 minutes until they show some colour, then remove on to a chopping board and allow to cool.
Remove the garlic skins, remove the onion skin and quarter the tomatoes. Add all the ingredients into the mini chopper along with 1 tsp chipotle paste. Blitz until a smooth paste is formed.
Warm the stock from earlier over a medium heat, add the flavour paste and the stock cube, stir well until combined, bring to the boil for 10 minutes then reduce to a simmer.
250-300 Raw King Prawn meat
125-150g tin shredded blue swimming crab meat
Vegetable oil for shallow frying
2 corn tortillas – cut into strips
1 avocado – slice into strips at last minute
1 red onion – diced
1 red chilli – thinly sliced
2-3 tbsp. chopped coriander leaf
Method: Heat the oil to 175-180°c then fry the tortilla strips in small batches until golden and crispy. Only do a few at a time as they cook very quickly. Drain them on absorbent paper and set aside ready to add to the dish.
Prepare the other garnishes – dice the avocado, dice the onion and slice the red chilli, collect together ready to add to the soup.
Bring the soup back to the boil them add the prawns, turn off the heat and let the residual heat poach the prawns. As soon as they turn pink serve the dish.
Ladle the soup and prawns in to deep serving bowls. Add the shredded crab in chunks, add the tortilla strips, onion, avocado, chilli and coriander then serve immediately.
As always more than happy to answer any questions.
Chicken on the bone, with paella rice, vegetables, herbs, spices and garlic mayonnaise. A true one pot wonder.
It was a little hard to name this dish and really “spiced chicken and rice” doesn’t really do it any justice. This really is absolutely delicious, if I don’t say so myself! I wanted to make a dish like paella but with a very different flavour. I am very happy with the results and cant wait to cook this again, I hope you like it too!
The dish uses chicken wings with the skin removed, cooked on the bone this gives the chicken flavour and keeps the meat moist as the dish cooks. You could substitute wings for thighs or legs, but I think wings work best.
The wings are browned in a pan before adding a mixture of onion, garlic, red pepper, celery and red chilli. This is fried until the vegetables start to soften then a little sugar, black pepper, smoked paprika, ground cumin and chilli powder is added then stirred through the vegetables. Paella rice is added and stirred through the mixture to coat every grain in the flavour base. A glass of white wine is added then cooked off, followed by some tomato paste, chicken stock and a little water. The heat is turned down and the dish is left to simmer until the rice is cooked. The dish is garnished with some freshly chopped coriander, lime wedges and a generous drizzle of garlic mayonnaise.
Preparation time 15 minutes, cooking time 35 minutes
500g chicken wings – skin and connective tissue removed
4 cloves garlic – peeled, crushed and finely chopped
2 medium sized red onions – finely diced
1 red pepper – finely diced
150g Paella rice
125ml dry white wine
1 tsp Smoked paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp. olive oil
500ml chicken stock – keep hot to add to rice
175ml water – add extra if liquid cooks off before rice is ready
2 tsp tomato paste
Black pepper – to taste
Salt – to taste
3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaf – add to dish and for garnish
4 lime wedges – garnish
Garlic mayonnaise – in squeeze bottle to drizzle over dish
Method: Start by heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a wide deep frying pan, then add the chicken wings and brown over a medium high heat. Once chicken is browned add the celery, garlic, onion, chilli and red pepper, stir fry for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables start to soften. Add 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp chilli powder, a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper and 2 tsp of brown sugar and stir through the vegetables. Next add the paella rice and stir well until each grain is coated in the spice mixture, then add a glass of wine and stir until it is cooked off. Add 2 tsp of tomato paste and stir through the rice then add 1 tablespoon chopped coriander, 500ml chicken stock and 175ml water. Gently stir through the rice, bring to the boil then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Leave uncovered for around 25-30 minutes until the rice is cooked. If required you can add a little extra water and cook for longer if rice is not ready, the chicken will only get more tender and fall off the bone delicious. Before serving check the rice for seasoning then add salt and pepper to taste. Complete the dish by adding lime wedges, sprinkling coriander, then drizzling a generous amount of garlic mayonnaise over the dish.
Pan roasted chillies, tomatoes, peppers and garlic along with the spices give this soup a very special deep flavour.
The tomatoes, red peppers, orange pepper, red chilli and garlic are roasted in a dry pan until slightly charred to bring out the deep flavours. This is then added to a soup base of celery, carrot, white onion, red onion and bay leaf which has been softened in a little oil. Spices, herbs, seasoning and chicken stock are then added. After a simmer the bay leaf is removed then the soup is blended until smooth.
This may look like a simple soup but it has a depth of flavour that lifts it up to a new level.
Makes 4 large portions
Preparation time 15-20 minutes, cooking time 40 minutes
1 orange bell pepper – seeds and stalks removed, roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper – seeds and stalk removed, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic – leave in skin
5 round tomatoes
2 red chillies
Method: Heat a deep wide frying pan and add the vegetables. Dry fry for around 8-10 minutes, tossing the pan occasionally, until the garlic is softened and char marks appear on the chillies, tomatoes and peppers. Remove the garlic and chillies on to a chopping board to cool, then remove the garlic skins (should peel easily) and the chilli stalk, return to pan to add to the soup base.
2 sticks celery – sliced
1 white onion – diced
1 red onion – diced
4 medium sized carrots – peel, sliced
2 bay leaf
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
Handful fresh coriander (leaf and stalk)
10 basil leafs
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 and half dessert spoons brown sugar
1.5L chicken stock
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp sea salt – plus extra to taste
Black peppercorns – for grinding
Method: Add 1-2 tbsp. of olive oil to a deep soup pan and heat to medium hot. Add the celery, carrot, onions and bay leaf and fry for 6-7 minutes until softened. Add the paprika, cumin, coriander and stir through the softened vegetables. Now add the pan roasted vegetables into the soup and stir through. Add the chicken stock then add the herbs (coriander, parsley and basil), bring pan to the boil for 2-3 minutes then reduce to a simmer. Add one and a half dessert spoons of brown sugar then add a teaspoon of salt and a generous amount of black pepper. Cover the pan, reduce heat to a gentle simmer for 25-30 minutes. Before serving use a stick blender to blend until smooth. After blending taste the soup and add more seasoning if required.
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Salmon marinated in dark soy sauce, wok oil and brown sugar, pan-fried with crispy skin. Served with a rice salad with flame roasted and crunchy fresh salad vegetables. Completed with a dressing made from soy, sugar, lime juice and coriander leaf.
A really healthy dish but one that is packed with flavour. It is also a great excuse to use my favourite kitchen gadget – my blowtorch. Dont worry if you don’t have one, simply dry roast the vegetables in a very hot oven for 5-7 minutes.
The salmon is marinated several hours ahead of cooking and is left with a black coating that caramelises when cooked in a hot pan. Cooking skin side down for most of the cooking to get the skin nice and crispy – after all nobody likes skin on a fish if it isn’t crispy.
Brown salad rice is cooked then cooled ready for the vegetables, half of which are roasted using the blowtorch for deep flavour and the rest are left raw to give the dish some nice crunchy texture.
The dish is completed with a dressing made from brown sugar, soy sauce, lime juice and coriander.
Serves two people
Preparation time 25 minutes (plus 1-2 hours to marinade), cooking time 15 minutes
2 Keta Salmon fillets – make 2-3 diagonal slices in the skin to help skin crisp up
1 dessert spoon Dark soy sauce
1 dessert spoon wok oil
1 dessert spoon brown sugar
Marinade – the soy, oil and sugar in a bowl until combined. Add the salmon coating on both sides then place in fridge for 1-2 hours. Remove 30 minutes before cooking to bring back to room temperature.
150g brown rice – cook, drain and cool
2 red onions – diced, add to pan for roasting
2 red bird eye chillies – add to pan for roasting
2 green bird eye chillies – add to pan for roasting
1 romano red pepper – add to pan for roasting
3-4 tbsp sweetcorn – add to pan for roasting
4 plum tomatoes – skin, deseed, chop, add to pan for roasting
10cm cucumber – peel, deseed, dice. Raw for crunch
1 small carrot – cut into fine batons. Raw for crunch
1 stick celery – dice, raw for crunch
3 spring onions – finely slice, raw for crunch.
Method: Retain the fresh vegetables in a bowl ready to add to rice. For the roasting vegetables add to a stainless steel pan and use a blowtorch to roast the vegetables until charred. Alternatively add vegetables to a dry baking tray and roast in a very hot oven for 5-7 minutes.
2 dessert spoons brown sugar
2 dessert spoons dark soy sauce
Juice of a lime
Handful coriander leaf – very finely chop, retain a little for garnish.
Method: Mix well in a bowl until combined. Give a second mix prior to serving.