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Monday, January 24, 2011

Smoky Tomato Soup with Couscous

I found this recipe as I was looking for a new soup to try.  It's January after all, and what better way to warm up at the end of a long, cold day than a delicious, hot soup?  Also, I wanted to participate in a blogging event over at Branny Boils Over.  She's holding a Charity Souper Bowl to raise money to donate to the ASPCA.  I made this Smoky Tomato Soup with Couscous, but before I tell you about the recipe, I'll first dedicate my post to my special animal - Jala.  My family got Jala, a miniature dachshund puppy back in the spring of my freshman year of high school.  She's about to turn 16 and is still my little puppy.  She's slowed down in her old age, but she's still a great friend and dog.  Here she is in her typical winter day outfit - a cute sweater!  Since she's so skinny and has barely any fat (6.5 pounds!), the cold weather leaves her shivering all day unless she wears a sweater.  If only Jala could have some delicious soup to warm her up! 

Okay, now on to the soup.  As soon as I saw this recipe had chipotle peppers in it, I knew it would be a hit in our house.  Both Zach and I love the smoky flavor and spiciness they give a dish.  I found this in the January/February 2011 issue of EveryDay with Rachael Ray and thought it would go very nicely with a loaf of our favorite bread.  I did change it a bit, mostly in the preparation method.  After the onions, tomatoes and broth had cooked I chose to use my immersion blender to make a smooth soup.  I really liked the flavors and consistency I got by adding that step.  I also added the topping of Cojita cheese, mostly because we had some leftover in the fridge, but I really loved the salty bite it gave the soup.  The finished soup really reminded me of a grown-up version of spaghettios!  Since the Israeli couscous cooks in the soup liquid, it gets a little pink tint to it that reminded me of spaghettios (seen better in the first picture) but the chipotle and cilantro sour cream make it grown-up.  It was delicious and made for a quick and easy weeknight meal.  

Smoky Tomato Soup with Couscous
Adapted from: EveryDay with Rachael Ray, Jan/Feb 2011
Makes 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 large onion, finely chopped
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
3/4 cup Israeli couscous
4 ounces ham, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
Salt and pepper 
4 ounces Cojita cheese

  • Using a food processor, pulse the sour cream and 1/4 cup cilantro until smooth; refrigerate. 
  • In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and chipotle chile and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. 
  • Add the chicken broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Insert an immersion blender in the soup and blend soup until desired consistency. 
  • Add the couscous and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Stir in the ham; season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  • To serve, top the soup with the cilantro sour cream, cojita cheese and remaining 1/4 cup cilantro.