Thursday, January 27, 2011

Piquant Oatmeal Soup

Many years ago I received a cook book of soup recipes. There's still recipes I haven't tried (and some I'll never try), but I thought I'd share this one we enjoyed.

The book describes it as "unusual soup, of Mexican origin, is simple and comforting. It has a hint of chili heat, but it's character is move sweet than spicy."

It was something different, but actually pretty tasty. The whole thing takes about 35 minutes or so, but part of the preparation you can do in advance when you have time, so if you do the prep you can actually make this soup in about 10 minutes or so.


1 cup oatmeal
3 tbsp butter
1 large sweet onion
2 to 3 garlic cloves
12 oz tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
6 cups chicken stock
1/8 tsp cumin
1 tsp harissa or 1/2 tsp chili paste
1 to 2 tbsp lime juice
salt and pepper

Place a heavy bottom skillet over medium heat. Add the oats and toast for about 25 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly and evenly browned. This is the part of the recipe that can be done in advance. Remove from pan and allow to cool. I used whatever oats I first found in the store, which happened to be Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats. I also forgot to remove them from the pan to cool after, oh well.

Heat butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and cook until onion is soft. Add tomatoes, chicken stock, cumin, harissa (or chili paste), and a good pinch of salt to the onion and garlic. I used pre-diced tomatoes and could not find harissa. Heck, I couldn't even find chili paste, so I ended up using some chipotle sauce I found in the international aisle.

Stir in the oats and bring to a boil. As noted above I forgot to let the oats cool. I had cooked my onions at the same time, and did the step above, then just dumped the warm oats right in. Regulate the heat so that the soup boils gently and cook for 6 minutes.

Stir in 1 tablespoon of lime juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning. You can substitute lemon juice, just use a little less the book says.  I actually used a little more than it said. I also used a dash of pepper. I would have liked a little more of the chipotle in mine, but that's up to you.

This serves 4 the book says. I think that's serving it as a main course, because we had 3 large bowls full of soup and there was still more in the pot. As an appetizer you'd get more.

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