A Spicy-Hot Soup to Crush Your Cold
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1 medium onion, chopped*
Olive oil for sauteing
1 head garlic, cloves separated and chopped fine
3-4 small hot chile peppers, chopped (fresh are best, but dried ones like chipotles and chiles de arbol work great, too. Just rehydrate them in hot water for a few minutes before chopping. )
1 tablespoon dried oregano and/or thyme*
1 28-32 oz can or jar of organic whole tomatoes or tomato puree (I use home-canned tomatoes)
1 can garbanzo beans (cook them from scratch by all means; but if you’re doing poorly, don’t be shy about opening a can), drained*
Limes—enough for half a lime for each serving
Some good but not fancy melting cheese—I use Organic Valley Sharp Cheddar—grated, about ¼ cup per bowl of soup
1 bunch of something green—preferably cilantro, but parsley works well too—chopped
Chopped red cabbage, about 1 cup*
* Optional ingredients
Put a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, and coat bottom with olive oil.
Add the chopped onions (if using) and let them saute, stirring occasionally, until they’re translucent.
Add the garlic and the chiles and saute them, stirring to avoid burning, for a minute or two.
Now add the tomatoes and a good pinch of salt. If you are using whole canned tomatoes, use a wooden spoon to break them up as they cook.
Add the beans, and let the tomato mixture cook and reduce for a few minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid any sticking to the bottom and burning.
Now, take the same container the tomatoes came in—whether store-bought can or home jar—and fill it with water.
Add the water to the pot, and bring to a boil.
Turn heat to low, correct for salt, and prepare to serve.
To serve: Add grated cheese (if using) to an empty soup bowl. I know you’re not supposed to eat dairy when you have a cold, but I find molten cheese in this soup enormously comforting. Ladle a good amount of hot soup into the bowl, making sure that the cheese is completely covered (this will ensure it melts). Now give it a big squeeze of lime juice—at least half a lime. Cover top with final garnishes—chopped greens, and if you’re using them, cabbage and avocado slices.