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.
“Full Breakfast” nachos – tortilla chips with mixed beans in a spiced tomato sauce, sliced grilled chipolata sausage, fried eggs, chipotle mayonnaise, grated cheddar and a fresh delicious tomato and avocado salsa.
I started out planning to make some Huevos Rancheros but my imagination took over and I decided to experiment with this dish – I’m so glad I did. Essentially this is nachos crossed with a cooked breakfast with a Mexican twist, it may not be an authentic Mexican dish but it sure is tasty.
All the components in the dish work very well together – the crunch from the tortilla chips, the rich Smokey flavour from the beans, the creaminess of the chipotle mayo, the richness of the fried eggs, the flavour of the grilled sausage, the saltiness of the cheese and the freshness of the salsa. I hope I’m making you hungry.
Preparation and cooking time 35 -40 minutes
This dish involves making all of the elements and adding them together at the last minute
4-5 round tomatoes
1 red chilli
2 guajillo chillies
5 cloves garlic – leave skin on to dry fry
2 white onions – leave skin on to dry fry
1 yellow bell pepper
500ml chicken stock
Dash Worchester sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp smoked paprika
2tsp chipotle paste
350g mixed beans – rinse well
Salt to taste
Method: In a wide deep non stick frying pan, dry fry the tomatoes, chillies, garlic, onion and yellow pepper until they are coloured on all sides. All of these should be left in their skin. The garlic will cook quicker than the other ingredients, remove from the pan when the cloves soften. Once charred let all the ingredients cool and remove the garlic skins, onion skins and the stalks from the chillies and peppers.
Transfer the tomatoes, garlic, onions, chillies and pepper into a small blender/mini chopper and blitz until a smooth sauce is formed. Add a dash of Worchester sauce, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 2tsp chipotle paste and 2tsp sugar. Blitz again until combined with the sauce.
Add the sauce to a wide deep sauce pan and add the chicken stock, stir well and bring to the boil and add the rinsed beans. Bring back to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 25 minutes, stirring frequently. Ignore the instruction on the tin that they will cook in 10 minutes – its just totally wrong!
Set aside ready to add to the dish
3 round tomatoes -diced
1 ripe avocado – diced
1 red onion – diced
1 red chilli – seeds/stalk removed and finely diced
Juice of 1 and half limes
small handful of coriander leaf – roughly chopped
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Method: gently mix all the ingredients in a large glass mixing bowl until the sugar and salt and combined with the salsa, cover and set aside at room temperature for 20-25 minutes. Mix gently again before serving.
2 portions of lightly salted corn tortilla chips – 50-75g each
4 eggs – fried at last minute, sunny side up
4-6 large chipolata sausages – oven roast at 180°c for 20-25 minutes
Chipotle mayonnaise – combined 5 tsps. mayo and 1 tsp chipotle paste
1 small red onion – diced, for garnish
3-4 tbsp. roughly chopped coriander leaf – for garnish
25-30g grated medium cheddar cheese
lime wedge – as garnish
Use wide deep bowls to plate the dish, start by adding the beans to the bottom of the dish, saving a little of the sauce as a garnish.
Layer the tortilla chips on top, then add the sausage and the salsa. Place the fried eggs on top of the nachos then complete the dish by adding the cheese, chipotle mayo, coriander and a little of the tomato sauce.
Add a lime wedge as a final garnish then serve and enjoy!
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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.
A rich, smokey and spicey soup of vegetables and mixed beans
A simple recipe for a rich, smokey, spicey and deeply flavoursome soup which is as healthy as it is delicious. A flavour base of onion, peas, garlic, carrot and celery is fried in a little olive oil then mixed beans, chipotle paste, spices, herbs, tomato paste and stock are added. Unlike most my soups this one is not blended so it is important to spend a little time cutting the vegetables so that they are all the same size and cook at the same time. The result is a soup with a really satisfying deep flavour – works brilliantly with a nice bacon roll (other fillings are available) or as a starter on its own.
This recipe gives 4 large portions
Preparation time 15 minutes, cooking time 45 minutes
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 white onions – finely diced
3 sticks celery – finely diced
4 cloves garlic – crush finely chopped
50g garden peas
4 carrots – peel, finely diced
400g tin mixed beans (in water) – drain, rinse well
2 bay leafs
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp chipotle paste
2 dessert spoons tomato paste
1 dessert spoon brown sugar
1.5 litres vegetable/chicken stock
2 tbsp. chopped coriander leaf
salt and pepper
Method: Start by heating 2 tbsp. olive oil in a deep stock/soup pot then fry the onion, bay leafs, carrot, garlic, peas and celery for 5-7 minutes until slightly softened. Add the beans, the chipotle and tomato paste and mix well, then add the spices. Stir fry for a further 2 minutes then add in the stock, the chopped coriander, the sugar, a generous amount of black pepper and a little salt. Bring the soup to the boil then reduce to a simmer, cover pot with lid and cook for around 40 minutes. After this carefully remove lid and taste test the seasoning, add a little extra salt or pepper if required. Before serving remove the bay leafs then ladle the soup into bowls. Enjoy.
A wonderful rich, smokey and spicy soup inspired by the soups I have tasted travelling in Mexico. The flavour from the gaujilo chillies and chipolte paste make this soup something very special.
The soup is made from a flavour base of bay leaf, guajilo chillies, garlic and onion which is fried in a little olive oil. Carrots, celery, peppers, red chilli, tomato paste, pasatta and fresh coriander is then added. A spice mix of chipolte paste, cumin seeds, ground coriander, smoked paprika, oregano, a little sugar and seasoning is added before some stock. The soup is then simmered for 45 minutes before being blended.
Makes 4 portions
Preparation time 20 minutes, cooking time 1 hour
2 tbsp Olive oil
2 Bay leafs
2 dried gaujilo chilles – soak in water for 40 minutes, discard water
4 gloves garlic – crush and peel
2 white onions – peel, dice
4 carrots – peel and cut into fine discs
2 sticks celery – slice thinly
1 orange bell pepper – diced
1 Yellow bell pepper – diced
1 red chilli – thinly slice
2 tsp tomato paste
1 handful fresh coriander – use leaf and stalks
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp chipolte paste
2 tsp sugar
1.5L vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and Pepper to taste
You require a deep soup pan and a stick blender for this recipe