Friday, January 4, 2008

Recipe Box: (easy) Spicy Winter Soup

Normally I'm big on fresh everything, but this recipe is from a co-worker and tastes surprisingly marvelous, even with packaged ingredients. You can, of course, substitute fresh ingredients for the packaged. In the dead of Michigan winter, however, the "fresh" (i.e. picked under ripe a month ago and shipped here) ingredients are often uninspiring. This is also a great quickie soup for unexpected house guests or family dinner, or cold season to clear out the sinuses and get a dose of nutrients. Serve alone or with a hearty, crusty bread (like sourdough).

Here's the base recipe, feel free to substitute for vegetarian or fresh ingredients if you can get them:

2 cans petit diced tomatoes (2 cups fresh)
2 cans petit diced tomatoes with green chiles (2 cups fresh)
1 pound polish or andouille sausage
1/2 cup rice
1 package (1 pound) frozen chopped spinach
8 cups chicken broth
1/2-2/3 cups fresh chopped cilantro (to taste)

slice the sausage thin (1/4 inch) .
In the bottom of the stock/soup pot (or separate pan), cook the sausage on low to med-low heat until browned.
drain oil.
In soup pot, add sausage, broth, tomatoes and Chiles.
Bring to a simmer and cook for at least 20 minutes (an hour gives optimum flavor, but isn't necessary)
Add the spinach (you don't need to thaw first) and rice
Cook for an additional ten minutes
Add the cilantro
Cook for 10 minutes or until rice is done. Serve hot. This serves well as leftovers, but I haven't tried freezing it. I don't know if the cilantro would survive freezing without breaking down.

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