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.
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.
Enchiladas stuffed with leftover chicken in a rich Mexican tomato and guajillo chilli pepper sauce. Oven baked and served with tomato and avocado salsa.
This dish is a great way of turning leftover chicken into something really special. Garlic, tomatoes, red pepper, red chilli and guajillo chillies are pan roasted until charred to unlock their deep flavours, then blitzed into a smooth sauce which is mixed with the leftover chicken. The tortillas are brushed with a mixture of a little oil and tomato sauce before baking so that they take on some flavour and to prevent them over crisping or burning. A little of the sauce is also used as a garnish on top of the enchiladas.
A simple yet delicious salsa is made from tomatoes, red chilli, red pepper, avocado, coriander, red onion, lime juice, a little sugar and seasoning. It is important to leave this covered at room temperature for 1-2 hours to allow the flavours to fully develop. It just doesn’t taste as good if its been chilled, like tomatoes in general.
The dish is completed with some sour cream drizzled over the enchiladas, along with a garnish of coriander and lime wedges. I have been to Mexico many times and this takes me back there…..
Serves two people
Preparation 15-20 minutes, cooking 10-12 minutes (plus time for salsa to develop)
1/2 a red chill – finely chopped, remove seeds (keep for hot)
1/2 a red bell pepper – finely diced
3 tomatoes – diced
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 baby avocado – diced
1 medium size red onion – diced
Good handful coriander – roughly chopped
Generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
Salt – to taste
Method: Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well, cover bowl and set aside at room temperature for 1-2 hours. This helps the favours combine and gives a far tastier salsa.
Approx. 150g leftover/precooked chicken – cut into small pieces or shred
4 corn tortillas – must be corn ones
3 large garlic cloves – keep skin on (see method)
2 guajillo chillies – if using dried, soak for 45-60 mins then discard water
1/2 red chilli – remove seeds and stalk
1/2 red pepper
3 round tomatoes
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp. coriander leaf, plus a few leafs for garnish
1/4 tsp salt
Generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
Sour cream – to garnish
Method: Start by dry roasting the pepper, chilli, tomatoes, garlic (keep skin on) and guajillo chilli peppers over a medium high heat. Turn occasionally but the aim here is to dry roast and get some charred colour to bring some deep flavour to the sauce. Once the peppers and chillies are charred on all sides, carefully remove the garlic and tip the rest into a small food processor/mini chopper. Allow the garlic to cool then squeeze to remove roasted garlic from the skin then place in food processor. Add the coriander, sugar, salt and pepper then blitz until a smooth rich red sauce is formed. Taste test and add a little extra sugar, salt or pepper if required, the sauce should be rich and flavoursome, but not too sweet. Retain 1-2 tbsp. of the sauce and mix the rest through the chicken. With the retained sauce mix with a tbsp. of vegetable oil – this will be used to brush the enchiladas.
Preheat your oven to approx. 180°C then start to make the enchiladas. Lay one out flat on a chopping board, place a generous amount of filling just below the middle then roll the bottom over carefully then roll into a enchilada. Place into a roasting dish with the seam on the bottom. Repeat for the other three enchiladas, making sure to space them out in the roasting dish. Using a brush give the enchiladas a thin coat of the sauce/oil mix to prevent the tortillas crisping up too much during baking. If you have any sauce left you can also add a couple of small drops on top of the enchiladas before baking, this is mainly for aesthetics and entirely optional. Add to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes.
When plating, take care when transferring the enchiladas so they don’t loose their shape or any of the contents. Serve with a side portion of the salsa and garnish with sour cream and a few coriander leafs.
A great recipe for wonderful fresh fish tacos. Strips of fresh Sea Bass in a light beer batter inside corn tortillas, served with salsa, lime wedges and sour cream.
One of my favourite Mexican dishes and also one of the easiest to make. Simply cut fresh fish into strips, coat in flour then batter and then deep-fried until crispy on the outside. Served inside a warmed corn tortillas with a side of salsa made from tomatoes, sweetcorn, avocado, red onion, lime juice, coriander leaf, a little sugar and seasoning. A dollop of sour cream completes the dish.
The important thing here is the freshness of the sea bass and the salsa ingredients to give that true taste of Mexico. Making the salsa around 1-2 hours in advance lets the flavours fully develop, it is best kept at room temperature as tomatoes love the heat. It is also important to leave making the beer batter until the last-minute so it stays light.
Serves two People
Preparation time 15 minutes, cooking time less than 10 minutes (salsa best made 1-2 hours in advance)
2 Sea bass fillets – remove skin and cut into strips 2 cm thick
4 corn tortillas – warmed in a pan before serving
50g seasoned flour – in a plate or flat-bottomed bowl to coat fish
Oil to deep fry
Sour cream – a dollop on the side
Lime wedges – to garnish
225-250g plain flour
330ml chilled lager beer – I used san miguel
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/3 tsp salt
4 round tomatoes – finely chopped
1 avocado – diced
2-3 Tbsp sweetcorn
1 medium red onion – diced
Handful coriander leaf – finely chopped
1 red chilli – finely sliced
Pinch of brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste