Monday, December 1, 2008

Latin Leftovers...Ay Caramba!

Believe it or not I really haven't had my fill of turkey yet. It is such a blank slate and can take on the most subtle or flamboyant flavors. And after all that old-fashioned, classic, rib sticking (or is that hip sticking?) food over the weekend I am ready for some heat. I'm needing something to blast my taste buds with a ton of flavor, without a ton of fat, after all, we have a slew of holiday calories coming our way, don't we? The way in which I usually go about achieving a meal that is both intensely satisfying and yet kind to my waistline, is by using herbs and chilis.

Only one of my three charming offspring will enjoy this meal of Chipotle Turkey Tortilla Soup tonight, and so I will also make a big plate of quesadillas, a staple around these parts, and that should appease their picky palates.

The soup, adapted from this month's Gourmet Magazine, contains homemade stock (which I have plenty of from my Turkey), sweet potatoes, black beans, brown rice, a variety of toasted then ground spices, and chipotle peppers (canned in adobo sauce). Topped with crispy tortilla strips, avocado chunks, and grated cheese, this meal will surely satisfy...and hopefully use up the rest of our leftovers....

When toasting the spices in my nifty mini spice toasting skillet, the fragrant smoke wafts into the kitchen air filling my home with its warm, exotic perfume. My oldest saunters into the kitchen and proclaims dully, soup again? I'll bet you can guess that he will not be partaking in this particular portion of the meal.

I blend the spices with the onions, garlic and chipotle chilis and open the blender and inhale. The smell is so strong that I feel the vagus nerve in my neck pinch suddenly, and I am thankful that I don't pass out and hit my head on the granite. Hmmmm....I'm sure a long, slow simmer will mellow out those strong flavors (it will). And the tender sweet potatoes will help to temper the heat in the chilis (it does). The soup it thick, almost like a stew, and I just can't wait to dig in.

Chipotle Turkey Tortilla Soup

1 pound of chopped left over turkey meat (skinned)
2 quarts of left over turkey stock (or from a box is fine)
1/2 t allspice
1 whole clove
1/2 t cumin seeds
5 peppercorns
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2-2 T chipotles in adobo, finely chopped
1 T adobo sauce
1 C medium or short grain brown rice
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 can of black beans, rinsed
12 corn tortillas
cooking spray
2 avocados
2 limes
grated cheese
1/2 c finely chopped cilantro

Heat stock in large stockpot. Toast spices in dry skillet until they are fragrant and slightly darker, shaking occasionally, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a blender along with onion, garlic, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, 2 t salt and 1 C stock. Blend until spices are finely ground, about 2 minutes. Add puree to stock in the pan, along with rice and sweet potatoes. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until rice is cooked.

Meanwhile, slice corn tortillas into strips and place on baking sheet. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray strips with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Bake until crisp, stirring every so often, about 15 minutes. Remove to a paper towel to cool.

When rice and potatoes are tender, add chopped turkey meat and beans and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with grated cheese, hunks of avocado, lime wedges and tortilla strips.

This recipe can also be made with a whole rotisserie chicken (or one you poach yourself).

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