Two soups offer warmth and ease for a hectic holiday season

  • Two soups to help make the coming weeks of holiday hoopla a little easier.

    Two soups to help make the coming weeks of holiday hoopla a little easier. M. Eileen Brown | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted12/1/2021 6:00 AM

There will be days ahead in the upcoming swirl of the holidays when you crave something warm, healthy and easy to make.

And so, in the spirit of giving, we are offering you two soups that fit that description -- two soups that use many of the same ingredients but couldn't be more different. They have very similar flavor profiles, but each has its own personality.

 

White Chicken Chili and Creamy Cauliflower Poblano Soup both use poblano peppers, onions, garlic and lime.

The spices for both include coriander and cumin. Best of all, by using rotisserie chicken for the chili and precut cauliflower for the bisque, both are super easy to make.

In fact, I made them on the same night, and we had rotating leftovers for a few days that didn't seem boring. (Or you can have soup for both lunch and dinner this way.)

Dress them up or down as you see fit. You can serve both of them with sour cream and crushed tortilla chips.

If there's a cilantro-hater in your family, leave it out of the chili and serve it on the side.

If you are looking to cut the calories a bit, skip the tortilla chips and use a low-fat Greek yogurt to dollop on top. In any case, do not -- repeat, do not -- skip the limes in either recipe as they really bring a level of brightness to both.

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You can also fine-tune the spice level by reducing or eliminating the jalapeño in the chili or adding it to the cauliflower bisque.

In any case, one or both of these will be a perfect meal when you are trying to catch a breath this season.

Thank you, you say? You are most welcome!

• M. Eileen Brown is the Daily Herald's vice president of sales and marketing and an incurable soup-a-holic. She specializes in vegetarian soups and blogs at soupalooza.com/.

White Chicken Chili can be dressed up or down with sour cream and crushed tortilla chips.
White Chicken Chili can be dressed up or down with sour cream and crushed tortilla chips. - M. Eileen Brown | Staff Photographer
White Chicken Chili

2 (14.5-ounce) cans white beans

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 medium jalapeño pepper, minced

2 medium poblano peppers, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1½ teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ancho chili powder

4 cups chicken broth

2 limes, juiced, plus lime wedges, for serving

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed and meat shredded

¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves

Sour cream and crushed tortilla chips, for topping

Drain and rinse the canned white beans. In a medium bowl, mash half of the beans with a potato masher or fork until chunky. Add the oil to a large soup pot and heat it over medium heat. Add the peppers, onions and garlic and saute until soft. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the cumin, coriander and chili powder and continue to saute for 1 more minute. Stir in the chicken stock and lime juice and bring to a simmer. Add the beans -- both mashed and whole -- and continue to simmer for 20 more minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Stir in the shredded rotisserie chicken and cilantro and simmer until heated through, about 5 more minutes.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, crushed tortilla chips and lime wedges.

Serves 4

Adapted from foodnetwork.com/

Creamy Cauliflower Poblano Soup, left, is easy to make with a bag of precut cauliflower.
Creamy Cauliflower Poblano Soup, left, is easy to make with a bag of precut cauliflower. - M. Eileen Brown | Staff Photographer
Cauliflower Poblano Soup

2 tablespoons butter

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 poblano peppers, stemmed, seeded and sliced

1 medium yellow onion, sliced

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon ground cumin

12 ounces steamed cauliflower florets (1½ bags of precut cauliflower)

1 cup milk

Kosher salt

Sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, hot sauce and lime wedges, for serving

Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the peppers and onions and cook, stirring often, until totally soft. Stir in the coriander and cumin and cook 1 minute. Add the cauliflower, milk, 3 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the cauliflower is very soft.

Let cool slightly, then transfer to a blender and puree in batches until completely smooth. Return the soup to the pot and adjust the thickness to the desired consistency with water. Season to taste.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, crushed tortilla chips and lime wedges.

Serves 4

Adapted from foodnetwork.com/

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