Monday, September 24, 2012

Smoky Hatch Chili, White Bean, and Broccoli Soup {Gluten-Free + Vegetarian + Vegan + Low-Carb}

Smoky Hatch Chili, White Bean, and Broccoli Soup: {Gluten-Free + Vegetarian + Vegan + Low-Carb}
Texans like grilling. A lot. But, for many of us who live in apartments in Houston, grilling isn’t always an easy option for meals. That’s why I’ve imported the smoky taste of the grill into this Hatch Chili, Broccoli, and White Bean Soup. Made with oven-roasted Hatch Chilis, smoked sea salt, and a dash of smoked paprika, the soup offers a hint of the grill’s satisfying smokiness while catering to audiences who are typically excluded from traditional grilling—vegetarians and vegans—in addition to those following low-carb and gluten-free diets. This soup, amendable to fit just about anyone’s dietary needs, packs the sweet, subtle heat characteristic of the celebrated Hatch Chili.

Hatch Chili Peppers

What are Hatch Chili Peppers, Anyway?

I had never heard of Hatch Chili peppers until I moved to Texas.  And, even then it took me about 5 years to learn of their existence.  Hatch Chili peppers are a seasonal ingredient produced in Hatch, New Mexico, the self-proclaimed “Chili Capital of the World”. Hatch Chili peppers become available in late August and have a short growing season. The peppers can be used in everything from Chilles Rellenos to soups and they can even be infused into chocolate. Several local grocery chains carry the peppers (Fiesta, HEB, Central Market) and HEB and Central Market both have dedicated Hatch Chili Festival events with featured Hatch Chili products for sale and even cooking contests.

[Recipe] Smoky Hatch Chili,White Bean, and Broccoli Soup

With a texture much like that of comfort-food soups like potato soup and broccoli and cheddar soup, this Hatch Chili, Broccoli, and White Bean Soup is great hot or cold and can be garnished with arugula and pepitas and shaved parmesan (omit for vegan).

Ingredients--

2 Hatch chilies (roasted in 450∘ F. oven for 7-10minutes and peeled)
1 large head broccoli (a little over 1lb or 7cups), cut into florets
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
7 garlic cloves, minced
1 and ½ 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained
3 cups vegetable stock (low sodium preferred)
Smoked sea salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Smoked Paprika, a dash
Hot pepper flakes, a pinch
To Garnish—
Roasted Pepitas, to taste
Shaved parmesan cheese, to taste (exclude to make vegan)
Arugula


Directions--

Roast Hatch Chilies under oven broiler for 7-10minutes or until skins are browned. Place chilies in air tight container or zip-lock bag to loosen skins. Remove and discard skins. Note: it is recommended that you use kitchen gloves when handling the chilies to prevent pepper burn from any that might be particularly hot.

Steam broccoli for 5 minutes or until tender but still bright green and firm; avoid overcooking. Set broccoli aside.

In large pot add olive oil and set burner to medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook until translucent, roughly 8-10minutes. Add smoked sea salt, pepper, smoked paprika and hot pepper flakes. Add cannellini beans and vegetable stock. Bring to a very low boil and cook roughly 5 minutes.

Transfer broccoli and bean mixture in pot in small batches to blender. Liquefy and transfer to large bowl. Continue to process batches of soup components in your blender until finished.

Serve soup warm or cold garnished with arugula, pepitas (roasted, salted pumpkin seeds), and shaved parmesan (omit parmesan if vegan).

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