Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Soup Season.....

The first fire of fall is always a noteworthy event for us. The warmth from the woodstove on a chilly, blustery day marks the change of seasons as surely as the colorful falling leaves, acorns under foot, skeins of migrating geese, and the dog finally ceasing to shed as he begins to grow his new winter coat. We fired up our new Avalon woodstove for the first time ever on October 1st. It was installed back in May and we were instructed to light several small fires initially to 'season' the new stove, after which we could use it unrestrainedly as we wished. The stove is a dream to light; it takes right off into a roaring fire... no smoking, no fanning to create a flame. The chimney was built correctly too. What a relief! I now have my Girl Scout fireplace - no electronic controls, no fans needed; just a basic heat source that will warm the house during emergencies or very cold weather without electricity or other extraneous technological contraptions.

Art is away at continuing education school this week and I've been home with just the animals for company. Mo and I took a long, exhilarating hike along the lake, stopping to feed the fish, then up through the harvested fields to the high spot on the farm from which you can see clear to Heaven! Most of the leaves have already fallen, helped by the strong winds and torrential rains over the past week. But some of the trees have yet to give up their bounty. All of the oaks lining the back field are still holding onto their leaves and their acorns; many maples along the way are still resplendent in their red and gold mantles. The air smells earthy and musty and crisp all at the same time. Gone are the swarms of gnats and other flying bugs though the occasional lazy bee can still be seen gathering the last of the season's pollen from some sheltered wildflowers.

I didn't light a fire in the woodstove today as it really wasn't cold enough for one, but the cooler weather and approaching cold front did give me the urge to make a stockpot of soup for the freezer. I have been craving my favorite, Chicken Chowder with Chipotle (Chupe de Pollo con Chipotle). I took some pictures of the preparation. I thought I'd share the recipe as there are some friends here who are sure to ask for it! I usually double this recipe as it's just as easy to make twice as much and I always regret not having made more...

You will need the following for a Dutch oven, but if you have a large stockpot, double this recipe to make 1-1/2 gallons:
1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
Olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
6 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1-1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast
2 medium red potatoes (about 12 ounces) cut into half-inch pieces
1/2 pound fresh slender green beans or use a 15 ounce can, whichever is easier
1 (15.5-ounce) can white or golden hominy, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup whipping cream (or half and half to lighten the fat)
Salt to taste

1. Remove 1 chile and 1 teaspoon of the adobo sauce from the can; reserve the remaining chiles and sauce for another use. (I freeze them in little baggies so I always have them on hand.) Finely chop the chile and set the chile and the sauce aside separately. (Hint: wear rubber gloves when handling chiles and remove all the seeds and veins inside as that is where the heat is stored!)

2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven (or stockpot if doubling the recipe) over medium heat. Add chopped chile, onion, carrots, celery, cumin, oregano, thyme and garlic; cook 7 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Stir in broth and bring to a boil. Add chicken, cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Remove the chicken and cool slightly. Shred the chicken with 2 forks, cover and keep warm.

Remove the pan from heat and let stand 5 minutes. If you are using a blender or food processor, puree the broth mixture, a third at a time, until all of the broth is pureed. (I use an immersion blender so I can puree the broth right in the pot.) Return the pureed broth mixture to the pot. Stir in the potatoes, green beans and hominy. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, uncovered, 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Stir in the chicken and the cream and simmer 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in the reserved adobo sauce and salt to taste. ENJOY!

Yield: 8 servings (about 1-1/3 cups).
Calories: 246. Fat: 6.2 grams. Protein: 24.5 grams. Carb: 21.8 grams. Fiber: 3.5 grams.


  1. This sounds like a great recipe...and another reason for me to get one of those hand-held blenders. I've been meaning to for years. The picture of the soup is so perfect, I can smell it.

    This bad weather has hampered our plans for all but Homecoming. We missed most of the leaves. But Jolico Farm looks beautiful and inviting with or without fall color, and that stove is beautiful! You live the life Max! Patsye

  2. Thanks Patsye, I'm glad you enjoyed this post. When it turns cold in Florida, I recommend this soup to warm you and to make your home smell wonderful!

    I love my Cuisinart immersion blender. I got it at Bed, Bath and Beyond with a 20%-off coupon and it cost around $20 ... a very worthwhile investment! I recommend them.

    Our fall this year was a one-weekend wonder. The leaves were not their best this year with all the rain we continue to have (over 9" in September). Then the winds came and blew most of them off the trees. There are still trees with all their green leaves intact. It's strange to see flowers continuing to bloom as well. But you have got to love Mother Nature. She is always full of surprises.... Max

  3. Thanks. I'll look for a coupon. I wonder if I can find one Made in America? Probably not.

  4. OK. I came here look for pictures of all that snow. Or is your power not on? What am I saying? You are the power!!!! Patsye