Years ago, John introduced me to the cream of jalapeno soup at one of our favorite restaurants, Half Shells. Being a relatively new Texan, I thought this sounded weird, gross, and unnecessary. Why add those spicy things to a soup that tastes perfectly delicious with plain things like potatoes and corn? Well, it turns out there are a lot of reasons. For one, the spiciness is a perfect complement to the rich creaminess. For two, it's a fun change from the norm. And for three, it clears up your sinuses. Yep, your sinuses. I don't have that problem, but my husband does. So when he was practically bed-ridden with a terrible allergy attack last weekend I decided to try the cream of jalapeno soup at home. And it's easy! And it's delicious! Make it!
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup shredded/finely diced carrots
- 1/2 onion
- 5 jalapenos
- 1/4 heaping cup corn flour
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups half and half
- 3 cups shredded Monterey Jack
- 2 tablespoons shredded parmesan
- 3 more tablespoons of butter***
Finely chop the carrot, onion, and jalapenos (you will want to remove most of the seeds and veins to reduce the heat, but if you want some good spice I would leave the seeds of one jalapeno in there). Add each into a food processor one by one to chop into very fine pieces (do not turn into a paste). Add the vegetables and 1 tablespoon of butter and olive oil into a large saucepan. Saute to soften for a few minutes, adding salt and pepper to season, then transfer to a bowl.
In the same pan, add the remaining 3 T butter to melt. Whisk in a heaping 1/4 cup of corn flour (or regular flour), to create a roux. Slowly add in the chicken broth, using a whisk to remove any chunks. Whisk in 2 tablespoons corn starch. Pour in the half and half (you could use heavy cream for a richer soup), and bring mixture to a low simmer. Stir in the cheese to melt, then add back in the vegetables. Season with fresh cracked pepper, and about 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook for at least 30 minutes.
***Note: you are at a decision point here. Continue on with this relatively light (I said relatively) creamy soup, or add 3 more tablespoons of butter here before serving. I did it. I added more butter. It was Sunday and I just wanted a touch more indulgence...and the butter did the trick. But I would have been totally happy without it, so you be the judge.
Oh, and we topped with a pinch of shredded cheddar.