Cream of Jalapeno Soup

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!


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.