Thursday, September 24, 2009

Painted Desert Soup

I first had this soup at Blue Mesa Grill - a Mexican restaurant that is more Southwestern in flavor -verses Tex-Mex that defines most of the Mexican restaurants around these parts. Not that there is anything wrong with Tex-Mex - but it's nice to have something different once in a while. Anyway, Blue Mesa Grill has the recipe for their Painted Desert Soup on their web site, as well as recipes for many of the other items on their menu (Their guacamole is to die for).

It is actually two different soup recipes that are then ladled together into the same bowl so that one side is Corn Chile Chowder and the other side is Black Bean (I didn't do a particularly good job of ladling in my picture, but you can get the idea). Each of these soups are very good and could be made individually; but, they aren't that hard to make - and for the full effect, you need to make both and serve them together. As the web site states, it is as colorful as the Southwest.

I've adapted the recipe on the Blue Mesa Grill web site to both cut it down (i.e. make less) and to use more readily available ingredients.

Corn Chile Chowder
  • 3 cups frozen cut corn
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 oz. Velveeta Cheese (a slab about 3/4" thick), cut up
  • 1 Tbl canned sliced jalapenos, finely minced (no juice)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • corn starch - as needed
  • cold water - as needed
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the frozen corn on a cookie sheet and roast until it starts to turn light brown, about 30 minutes

Take 70% of the corn and the chicken stock and puree in a blender. Pour the puree in to a double boiler and heat over a medium heat. Add the heavy cream and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Add the remaining whole corn, Velveeta Cheese, jalapenos and salt. Continue cooking until cheese has completely melted. Stir often.

Mix corn starch and cold water in a separate bowl and add to soup as needed to thicken. Cook on low heat about 8 minutes until it thickens.

Black Bean Soup
  • 2 slices of bacon (preferably hickory smoked) cut into small pieces
  • 2 ounces (about 1/3 cup) chopped onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped (or pressed, if you have a garlic press)
  • 2 14 oz cans of cooked black beans
  • water as needed
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ½ tsp. chipotle puree
  • 2 Tbl brown sugar
  • 2 Tbl cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • (optional) dash of liquid smoke
Saute bacon and onions in a large pot until they begin to caramelize. Add the garlic and then saute for another 30 seconds to a minute

Add canned beans with liquid to the pan. If necessary, add just enough water so that the beans are just barely covered. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.

Puree ¾ of the soup and add back with remaining bean soup.

To serve

Simultaneously ladle both soups on opposite sides of the bowl.

(optional) Drizzle with sour cream and a teaspoon of pico de gallo.

  1. The chipolte in adobo sauce is the one ingredient people are less likely to have on hand. It's not expensive (a 4 oz can is a $1 or so); but, it may not be worth getting for just a ½ tsp. of the sauce. I don't recommend just leaving it out because the Black Bean soup needs some sort of spice; but, You could try substituting it with some sort of hot sauce. The chipolte in adobo sauce is pretty spice (hence only ½ tsp.); so, if using some other sort of hot sauce, you might want to increase it to a teaspoon or so.
  2. We tend to not use much salt in our cooking; so, you may need to add a bit more salt.
  3. For the picture, I poured the soups into two mugs and then simultaneously poured into the bowl - an option if you don't have two ladles.

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