Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, mostly known by his stage name Molière, was a French playwright and actor who is considered one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. His biting wit often laced with brilliant insight. Laughter, much like soup, can warm the coldest of souls. Winter has been bearing down on the Midwest in brunt force, flinging icy winds, snow squaws and such with ruthless abandon. We’ve found ourselves spending much time surfing our new found love, Apple TV, for brilliant bits of comedic relief as we diligently slurp down various soups to provide much needed warmth!
With such noted quotes as “I feed on good soup, not beautiful language” And “
One should eat to live, not live to eat”, it is safe to assume that Molière was attuned to the fact that soup, as is also the case with comedy, can warm a weary soul.
In our exploration of all things soupy, here are two hearty winter hitters that are sure to warm you soul and stick to your bones. Nothing is sure to send waves of warmth through you quicker than a nice, spicy chili and I have thrown in the Stuffed Pepper Recipe for good measure simply because we thought it was fabulous!
Beef Chili with Ancho, Red Beans and Chocolate
- 2 ancho chiles, seeded and hand-torn into pieces
- 3 lb. beef shoulder, cut into large cubes
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large red onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, halved
- 3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoons ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 (151/2-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon McCormicks cocoa chile blend
- 3 cups shredded white Cheddar cheese, for garnish
Toast the ancho chile pieces over low heat in a dry skillet until fragrant, shaking the pan so they don’t scorch. Put the chilies in a mini food processor and pulse to a powder. This homemade chile powder will add a smoky depth to the chili. If using Beef Shoulder, Season the beef shoulder all over with salt and pepper and then put it in a large soup pot. Add enough water to cover by 1 inch, about 3 quarts, and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the surface.
Mix in the onions, garlic, and chipotles. Stir in the chili powder, cocoa chile, coriander, cumin, paprika, oregano, cinnamon, sugar, and the powdered ancho chilies. Pour the entire can of tomatoes with their liquid into a bowl and hand-crush until chunky; add it to the pot along with the tomato paste. Simmer until the meat is fork-tender and comes apart with no resistance, about 2 hours. As it cooks down, add more water if necessary. When done, take a wooden spoon and beat the chili vigorously so the meat comes apart in shreds.
Add the next layer of flavor by stirring in the beans and cornmeal. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Cover the pot only partially so the steam doesn’t get trapped under the lid and drip down into the chili, making it watery. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, stir in the grated chocolate. Garnish each serving with the shredded Cheddar cheese and Saltine crackers.
Stuffed Pepper Soup
1 lb Fresh Ground Pork Sausage or Chorizo with casing removed.
1 cup barley
1 fresh green bell peppers, diced
1 fresh red bell pepper, diced
1 fresh yellow bell pepper, diced
1 Yellow onion, chopped
16 oz tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco or similar hot pepper sauce
1 cup beef broth
14oz San Marzano Tomatoes
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon of butter
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon brown sugar
¼ tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
½ cup fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Salt and pepper to taste
Brown 1 lb. sausage, drain and set aside. In separate sauté pan, Brown 1 tablespoon of butter. Add chopped onion and sauté. Add chopped peppers and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes. In a large stock pot, add beef stock, tomatoes, tomato sauce and barley and simmer until barley is al’ dente. Add hot pepper sauce, cumin, brown sugar and sausage, then continue to simmer for five minutes. Mix in sautéed bell peppers and serve. Garnish with Parmigiano-Reggiano and fresh sage.