Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Spicy Chorizo, Cippolini, and Tomato Soup



Oh man, it is getting chilly here in San Diego!  And of course, by chilly I mean highs in the mid sixties during the day, and lows of high forties at night.  I know, some of you have snow already, and I feel for you.  I really do.  But I swear my blood has thinned after living in Southern California for six years now.  After dealing with Midwest winters and living in the snow belt for most of my life, you would think I would be tougher.  And I can be pretty tough, but right now, I am just cold.  

So here is what I have been doing lately - eating a hot bowl of creamy oatmeal for breakfast, wrapping my hands around a steaming cup of coffee, wearing thicker socks and comfy sweaters, and cuddling up on the couch with my sweet little puppy.   Oh, and I have also been eating lots and lots of soups.  


Cippolini onions.

I have been filling up on pho and chicken noodle soup from some of my favorite restaurants, but when it comes to tomato-based soups I would just rather make it at home myself. (Call me picky, but I always find tomato soups from restaurants to be sort of bland, not nearly tomato-ey enough for my taste.)  I have had the idea in my head for awhile now that I wanted to make a batch of nice and spicy tomato soup, and I knew I wanted to heat it up with chorizo.  I had seen a recipe for including Spanish chorizo in a sort of thick stew-like soup, but I wanted to experiment with the Mexican chorizo since that is more readily available and less expensive around here.  Normally, Mexican chorizo is used in tacos and the like, but I thought it could definitely be used in soup too.  But I just couldn't decide what to pair with the chorizo... 

And then, as usually happens, I got inspired by a visit to the farmers market.  As I was browsing around last Saturday at the Little Italy Farmers Market, I happened upon these adorable golden cippolini onions from Schaner Farms.    


Cippolini onions are a bit sweeter than regular yellow onions, but not quite as sweet as shallots.  They have a cute satellite sort of shape, and lovely yellow and tan skin.  Cippolinis are ususally roasted and are amazing on pizzas, but is there any reason I can't throw them in my soup?  I think not.  

So into the pot they went.  The little cippolinis got sauteed with some sliced carrots and some garlic, and then I added the fiery red chorizo.  At first it started out as one big lump of meat in the pot, but with a little coaxing it broke up into tiny pieces that ended up being distributed perfectly throughout the soup.  To round it out and enhance the heat from the chorizo, I added fire roasted crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes with garlic and onion (I can never get enough garlic!), and then some plain broth.  Oh, and at the last minute, I felt the impulse to throw in some kale too.  (I find it is usually a good idea to trust my impulses in the kitchen.  And in life.  Well, sometimes in life.)

Soft and spicy Mexican pork chorizo.

Curly kale, washed well.  

In the end, I thought I might have to add some other flavorings to amp up the spice or bring out the sweetness of the tomatoes... but then it was just right.  Oh it was definitely spicy - not overpowering, but enough that it made my nose a little sniffly.  (Does that happen to you too?  When you eat something spicy it makes your nose run?  Hopefully it does, and I don't just sound like a weirdo.)  I am so glad I tried the Mexican chorizo in this soup, because it gave it a fantastic flavor that would have been missing if it had already been cooked (ie. Spanish chorizo).

But I think what I loved the most about this soup was the texture.  The onions and carrots were tender but still a had a little crunch, the kale was soft but not falling apart, and the cooked chorizo was slightly chewy.  The broth itself was rich from cooking the chorizo, and not completely smooth since it had the crushed and diced tomatoes.  Each bite gave me flavors and components that were different than the previous one.

And of course it warmed me right up.  

And then I went back to the couch for more cuddle time.   


You might also like: Ana's Weeknight Broccoli Soup
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Spicy Chorizo, Cippolini, and Tomato Soup

About 1 lb cippolini onions, peeled, and halved or quartered (about 2 cups)
1 cup thinly sliced and peeled carrots
1 tsp minced garlic
12 oz Mexican chorizo
1 can Fire Roasted crushed tomatoes (14.5 oz)*
1 can diced tomatoes with garlic and onion (14.5 oz)*
1 1/2-2 cans chicken broth (14.5 oz each)
1 large bunch of curly kale, washed well, stalks removed and sliced into ribbons
At least 1 tbsp salt, or more to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil

In a large heavy-bottomed stockpot, heat about 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.  Once it is hot, add onions and carrots, and saute for about 5 minutes - then add the garlic and saute for a few minutes more, or until the onions are softened and the carrots are tender.  Add the chorizo all at once, and use a heat-resistant spatula or tongs to break it apart and start to cook it.  (At first it will just be one big lump, but just keep stretching it apart and tossing it together with the vegetables to break it apart.)  Cook over medium heat for a 3-5 more minutes, adding an extra tablespoon of olive oil if everything starts to look dry. 

Add the whole can of crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, one can of the chicken broth, plus the salt and pepper.  Mix well, and if the mixture looks too thick, add another whole or half can of chicken broth.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes to bring all the flavors together.  Lastly, add the kale, mix it in to wilt it, and then simmer it for just a few minutes more to soften the greens.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.  

*If you can't find these or don't want to use them, I would suggest using regular crushed or diced tomatoes and then adding extra garlic, onions, and either crushed dried red red pepper or chili pepper.

63 comments:

  1. A wonderful soup! So comforting and tasty. I öove the addition of chorizo.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Oh this soup sounds just perfect. It's everything that I want in a bowl of soup!

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  3. you had me at 'spicy chorizo' but the rest sounds amazing too...perfect soup for this time of year!

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  4. This soup looks just incredible - and yes, my nose runs when I eat spicy foods too! The spicier the food, the more runny it gets, lol. And your do is ADORABLE

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  5. Onion pieces in soup looks wonderful..I normally blend the veggie in my soup..but this is yum!

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  6. Wuss! :) We've already had a couple of overnight frosts up here in Canada, and it's been too cold to bike to work for a while. And yes, I'm pouty about it.
    This soup looks like a perfect curl-up-on-a-cold-night meal. And how pretty are those little cippolini onions? Love!

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  7. Oh, please. Come visit me in Chicago and I'll show you some REAL cold! (Just kidding -- I'm actually just jealous.)

    This looks really, really great. Cippolini onions are so cute!

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  8. This soup sounds perfect right now. I'm with you on California being cold now...same for me here in SF area...I've definitely had the heater on.
    I just adore cippolini onions...they are so cute!

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  9. Delicious. Perfect soup for fall. Can't wait to try it.

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  10. Oh yes please, I have been enjoying our weather too.

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  11. It is cold in LA too. Am I going to see you at IFBC? GREG

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  12. Love it! Bookmarking this recipe. :)

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  13. I've never heard of cippolini. I swear you guys in Cali get so much great produce that the rest of the country never even sees! Love chorizo, this is such a great soup.

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  14. im going to try this with a few tweaks this afternoon!
    thanks for the idea!

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  15. now that it's getting cold here in canada, i want to drink soup all the time! this is the perfect warm-me-up soup!

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  16. At first I was jealous of your SoCal cold - as you described it, but I won't lie - I get chilly in the sixties as well. There's just something about the change in the season that brings out those warm socks.... Now when its 26... I just may be back to jealous.

    This soup looks beautiful. I am on a major soup stew kick this season and loving every bite. I have got to work this one in - that chorizo is just calling my name.

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  17. Hi Amanda - nice combination of ingredients, sounds like a perfect soup for Fall weather.
    Chloe is cute.
    LL

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  18. Such a gorgeous soup Amanda. Pretty sure I could live on meals like that ;)

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  19. Hi Amanda! After a decade in California, my husband and I agree that we have definitely become "wimps." I am already complaining when we have 60 degree weather, but today especially, is when I would love a bowl of this soup. One of my favorites!

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  20. One of the thing I miss about Italy: pre-cleaned cipolline.... The combo cipolline-chorizo sounds awesome!

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  21. What a great meal. all the ingredients are favorites of mine, so it has to taste great. Thanks!

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  22. This soup sounds like exactly what I've been looking for (and yes, my nose gets sniffly when you add a bit of heat). Love tomato-y soups with lots of flavour and some spice. And your puppy is awful sweet!

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  23. I find myself putting on a long sleeve shirt and closing the patio door once the temps fall under 60F. Why does it feel colder here in SoCal than in Midwest? It took like thirteen seconds to convert me:)
    This soup sounds perfect for our "cold" spurt (my sister in Germany is constantly mocking me when I complain and I need kindred spirits to commiserate with:)
    Just like you, I tend to concoct my own tomato soups, even though my husband is loyal to Campbell's Cream of Tomato Bisque.

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  24. This looks so delicious. Would love for you to share this with us over at foodepix.com.

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  25. That soup looks phenomenal. I usually eat tomato & basil soup, but I want to try your recipe.

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  26. This soup looks incredible! I don't think there's a single thing in there I don't love. I could really use one right now - it's freezing down here in Texas this week.

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  27. Having grown up in San Diego, I definitely know that "cold" factor (and 60 IS cold when you're used to warm, sunny skies every day). The color of this soup is so vibrant and lovely -- definitely something to cozy up to for immediate warmth.

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  28. This looks delicious! I've been looking for more tomato-based soup recipes to add to my standby list. I definitely need to try this. I'll have to see if I can find some Mexican chorizo around here. We usually use Spanish chorizo in our soups. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe!

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  29. This will be dynamite when we watch the football games this weekend.

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  30. Your pictures are so beautiful. And the soup, well it looks delicious! Thanks for the article.

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  31. The pictures are beautiful. And the soup...well it looks delicious. Thanks for the article.

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  32. This is a delicious soup!!! I made it yesterday and added a thinly sliced russet potato during saute. I did not add the kale. It's so wonderful I ordered more onions in organic door-to-door this week so that I can make it again for my valentine's day party. So glad I found this. Thanks!

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