Without further ado, my favorite soup discovery of 2014! Potato soup spiked with chipotle chiles, some corn and lime juice, then topped - at serving time - with shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips and lime-juice-slicked avocado cubes.
Yup. But you know what? It's even better than it sounds. It's a freaking symphony of flavors and textures - hot, sour, spicy, spiky, soft and crunchy - all in one delicious bowl.
I found the recipe in Amelia's just-published memoir, which I first received as a galley last year. It too is, in turns, soft and spiky, funny and bittersweet. With wit and honesty, Amelia takes a magnifying glass to her own coming-of-age story as a Pittsburgh transplant in Los Angeles, trying to find her way as a home cook and a wife and writer, but mostly just as a person.
And this soup is a perfect distillation of that coming-of-age narrative. The base is a very simple potato soup - olive oil, chopped onion, chicken broth, cubed potatoes. But then as the soup gets going, you start adding in some, well, let's call them complicators. Chipotle chiles in adobo (one if you want just a little heat; two if you're nuts). Lime juice, sharp and floral. Nubby bits of corn.
When the soup is done and you sit down to eat, you're a kid again, crushing chips with your hands, squeezing more lime, sprinkling in avocado and shredded cheese to soothe your fiery mouth (we do two chipotles, because we are nuts). The heat makes this a grown-up soup for sure, but it's definitely the most fun grown-up soup I've ever known.
Amelia Morris' Corn, Chile and Potato Soup
From Bon Appétempt
Serves 3 to 4
2 pounds potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken broth
½ cup water
1 to 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo
1 to 2 limes
1 (16-ounce) package frozen corn (not thawed) or 1 large can (between 340-450 grams) of corn
Grated cheddar cheese
1. Rinse, scrub, and peel the potatoes. Chop them into 1- to 2-inch pieces. Set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and give it a few pinches of salt and a bit of pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Add the potatoes, chicken broth, water, and 1 teaspoon salt to the pot. Raise the heat to high to bring to a boil. Mince the chile using a fork to hold it steady as you chop. Add the minced chile to the pot. Once the soup is boiling, take it down to a simmer; simmer until the potatoes are very tender, 15 to 17 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, dice the avocados and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and the juice of half a lime. Set aside.
5. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes right in the soup—just until coarsely broken up. Add the frozen or canned corn and simmer for about 2 minutes more, until heated through. Turn off the heat. Add the juice of the other half of the lime.
6. Ladle into bowls and top with a nice heap of tortilla chips, avocado cubes, and shredded cheddar. Serve with wedges of the remaining lime.