November 11, 2009

Have you ever watched any cooking shows on public television? I contend they are far superior to anything on the Food Network. Public tv shows seem more authentic and have a genuine desire to teach you something, while Food TV is more in the mood to entertain you. Which is why I am so disappointed never to have seen a Rick Bayless public tv show. He is like the American godfather of authentic Mexican cooking. I have two of his cookbooks (thanks Mom!) and they are awesome. Everything I've made of his is hot-damn delicious. Apparently he used to have a show, but now he doesn't. How about some reruns, PBS? I've seen some old Baking With Julia's that are about a century old. Give me some Rick Bayless!

I've written about my love of the poblano pepper before. This is the first time I've made a soup with that dark green delicacy, and I can see it happening again every poblano season.

Roasted poblano soup, adapted from Rick Bayless' Mexican Kitchen
Serves 4-6

6 medium-large poblanos (I only had 5, and the world is still turning)
1 onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small bunch chard, stems removed, leaves chopped into 3-inch ribbons
4 1/2 cups chicken or veggie broth
1/2 cup cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch or instant thickener* OR 1/4 cup masa harina
1 teaspoon salt

Possible toppings
crushed tortilla chips
feta cheese
cheese quesadillas, for dippin'

Roast the poblanos under a broiler or on a grill until the skin is blackened in spots. Put them in a bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and let them rest for about 10 minutes. Peel the skin off (no sweat if some stays on), and remove the stem, seeds and ribs. (The seeds and ribs is where the heat lives. After roasting, the ribs will look small and innocent, but cut them out if you are heat sensitive.) Cut the poblanos into strips. (You can do the roasting a couple of days ahead and put the strips in the fridge.)

Heat oil in a heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and let them get a little brown, about five minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and dried herbs,** about 1 minute. Add the roasted poblanos and chard. You might need to add a little water if your veggies are sticking to the bottom. Cover the pot and let the chard cook, about 5 minutes.

Turn off the heat, and in two batches, puree the chard/poblano mixture in a blender. Be careful, it's hot. Technically, Rick Bayless will have you the press this mixture through a sieve. I did this, and frankly, I don't know that it made that much of a difference. I'd skip it next time. But if you're feeling sieve-y, go for it.

Put the poblano puree back in the pot and put the heat on medium. Stir in 4 cups of the chicken stock, cream and salt. Put the remaining 1/2 cup chicken stock in a small bowl and stir in the magical thickener, cornstarch, or masa. Add the thickened stock to the soup pot. Let the soup cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until thickened and hot.

*Instant thickener is made by King Arthur Flour and is part magic.
**I like to put dried herbs in my palm and rub my hands together to release some of the scent from the herbs.


Benjamin said...

His show was informational and he's a great chef, but my god is he a creep in it. His daughter occasionally shows up and skulks around the set, and the show takes on a decidedly awkward and *gasp* molest-y vibe. It's truly unnerving.