Recipes: Tortilla soup and two more spicy soups to warm up a winter night

Recipes: Tortilla soup and two more spicy soups to warm up a winter night

Make 4 to 6 servings

For best results, ripe tomatoes are key – in the non-summer months, we find Campari tomatoes as a good option, as well as cherry or grape tomatoes. The tomatoes only need to be pitted before being thrown into the pot (cherry or grape tomatoes can be used whole).

2 tablespoons lard or neutral oil

1 large white onion, halved and cut into thin slices

6 medium cloves garlic, crushed and peeled

2 jalapeño chilies, stalked, seeded and cut into slices

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 bunch coriander, stems coarsely chopped, leaves chopped, stored separately

2 pounds ripe tomatoes (see main note), pitted

2 cups yellow or white tortilla chips, plus more for serving

1½ liter of low sodium chicken broth

1 teaspoon white sugar

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Sour cream or crumbled cotija cheese, for serving

Chopped avocado, for serving (optional)

In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, heat the lard until shiny. Add the onion and fry, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeños, cumin and coriander stalks, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, tortilla chips, broth and sugar. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook while stirring, simmering until the tomatoes are soft and their skins begin to peel away, about 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and cool without a lid for 5 minutes. Using a blender, work in batches so that the glass is never more than half full, puree the mixture until smooth; transfer each batch to a large bowl.

Wipe the pan off, then pour in the puree. Boil over medium heat, stirring often, until heated, about 5 minutes. Season to taste and season with salt and pepper, then stir in half of the chopped coriander leaves. To serve, add tortilla chips to individual bowls, then pour in the soup. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped coriander leaves and top with sour cream and avocado (if using).

Pumpkin and beef soup in Haitian style (soup Joumou)
Pumpkin and beef soup in Haitian style (soup Joumou)Connie Miller / from CB Creatives

Pumpkin and beef soup in Haitian style (soup Joumou)

Serves 8 servings

If you can not find Scottish motorcycles, habaneros also work well. Be sure to use canned pure pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. We also sprinkle ours with cloves, a tip we got from Haiti-born chef Sophia Sanon, who now lives in Montreal.

You should end up with about 2 pounds of meat after trimming a 3-pound boned roast beef; trim as much visible fat as possible. (Pre-cut meat sold as “beef for the casserole” does not work in this recipe; it is difficult to know the cut of meat.)

8 whole cloves

2 Scottish bonnet or habanero chili

3 pound boned beef chuck fried, trimmed fat and cut into til- to ¾-inch pieces

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

3½ liters (14 cups) chicken broth with low sodium content, divided

3 bay leaves

3 medium leeks, white and light green parts cut into ¼-inch rings, rinsed and drained

12 medium cloves garlic, crushed and peeled

15-ounce can of pumpkin puree

1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ½-inch cubes

1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes

1 cup finely chopped, fresh coriander

3 tablespoons lime juice, plus lime boats for serving

Warm sauce for serving

Squeeze 4 cloves into each of the chillies and set them aside. Use a paper towel to dab the meat dry, and season with salt and pepper.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until it just smokes. Add half of the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining beef, 2 cups of broth, bay leaves and 1 clove of chili. Bring to the boil, then cover and reduce to a low level. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is very tender, about 2 hours.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beef to a medium bowl and set it aside to cool. Saute the broth over medium-high heat until reduced to about 1 cup, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, when the beef is cool enough to handle, grate any larger pieces into mouth-watering chunks. Set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaves and chili from the broth, then pour it over the beef. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large Dutch oven over medium. Add the leeks and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin puree and cook until the mixture looks dry, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 3 liters of broth and the remaining cloves occupied chili, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are tender, about 30 minutes.

Place a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl. Pour the pumpkin-broth mixture through the sieve and press firmly on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids, return the liquid to the Dutch oven, and simmer over medium-high heat. Stir in squash and potatoes, simmer on medium, and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are just tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Add the reserved beef and its liquid and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is heated, 5 to 10 minutes. From the heat, stir in the coriander and lime juice. Season and season with salt and pepper. Serve with limes and hot sauce.

Spicy black bean and coconut soup
Spicy black bean and coconut soupConnie Miller / from CB Creatives

Spicy black bean and coconut soup

Make 4 to 6 servings

Nigerian Frejon, a smooth puree of beans and coconut milk, inspired this rich, flavorful soup that happens to be vegetarian (even vegan). We blend only part of the bean mixture so that the soup is slightly thickened, not a heavy puree, with lots of texture from creamy whole beans. If you have coconut oil in the pantry, use it instead of the neutral oil – it will add extra coconut flavor and aroma.

2 tablespoons grape seeds or other neutral oil (see main note), divided

½ medium-sized red onion, finely chopped, plus more for serving

3 medium cloves garlic, chopped

14½ ounce can of coconut milk

2 jalapeño chilies, stalked, halved and seeded

¼ teaspoon painted allspice

½ teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Kosher salt

4 15½-ounce cans of black beans, rinsed and drained

1 tablespoon lime juice, plus lime boats for serving

Chopped plum tomatoes, for garnish (optional)

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shiny. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 2 dl water, coconut milk, jalapeños, allspice, thyme and ¾ teaspoon salt and simmer. Add the beans and simmer without a lid, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and cool for 10 minutes. Transfer 3 cups of the bean mixture to a blender along with the jalapeños and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the pan and simmer over medium heat.

From the heat, stir in the lime juice, season to taste and season with salt. Pour into bowls and garnish with chopped onions and chopped plum tomatoes if using; server with lime boats.


Christopher Kimball is the founder of Milk Street, home of a magazine, school and radio and television shows. Globe readers get 12 weeks of complete digital access plus two issues of Milk Street Printed Magazine for just $ 1. Go to 177milkstreet.com/globe. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.

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