Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Impromptu Tomatillo Cream Soup

I had no intention of blogging today, but things happened so a spontaneous post is here. As I was leaving work today to bike home, I saw a bag of tomatillos sitting on the free-stuff table in the lobby. (That's right, my department has a random free-stuff table! It's usually books and magazines, but sometimes people leave goodies from their gardens!) After confirming with the lady at the desk that they were indeed up for grabs, I stuffed them in my little backpack and pedaled home as quick as I could.

After cooling down from an intense ride and drinking lots of water, I decided I needed to decide what to do with my new treasures. My first thought was to save them for a friend who really loves tomatillos, but selfishness got the better of me. (Sorry Airicca! I hope you know I still love you!) I decided to make a soup out of them without really having a recipe or idea of what I was doing. It all happened so fast, that I didn't even any good pictures, save for a few of the final product.

Thick, creamy, tomatillo-y, deliciousness!
So here's what I did:

Tomatillo Preparation
I started by removing the husks from the tomatillos (which is where they get their other name "husk tomatoes" from) and washing the fruits thoroughly. There's a bit of a sticky residue on the fruits when you remove the husks, so washing is not only sanitary, it's necessary! Then I diced them up cutting off any questionable looking bits. (As a side note for anyone who's never used tomatillos, they are much tougher than tomatoes, so they can handle being sauteed rather than just warmed like one would do if adding tomatoes to a dish like this.)

The Saute
I diced up some red onion and added it and the diced tomatillos to a medium saucepan. I added a generous amount of olive oil and spun the heat dial up to medium-high. From there, I stirred the veggies so that they were nicely coated with oil.

The Seasoning
I am always experimental when it comes to seasonings. It doesn't always work out for me, but sometimes (like in the present situation) it works perfectly. I went in thinking I'd do a broth-y kind of soup using a bacon bullion that I picked up in Brazil over the summer, but once I got to going with spices, I decided to change it up a bit. I first added a garlic salt with parsley flakes that my husband bought accidentally when I sent him to get garlic powder. (Don't be too harsh, the man makes me sushi and grills like a boss when it's warm enough to do it.) Then I added in some celery salt, paprika, and cumin (heavy on the cumin!) to the now simmering veggies. I then stirred it well and kept it cooking until the onions began to clear and the tomatillos were softened adequately.

Gettin' Creamy
By now, I had put back the bacon bullion for a later time and called in the milk and cheese. I sprinkled enough feta cheese to just dust the surface of the amazing-smelling saute before me. I gave it a quick stir to get the feta integrated and melted before I added enough milk to almost fill the pot (about 4 or 5 cups, if I had to guess). This got stirred well.

Thickening Up
The soup looked a little thin, as one might imagine, so it was time to add a thickener. I make a quick and simple roux by adding a heaping tablespoon of whole wheat flour to my favorite shaking jar (an old pickle jar that I use to make salad dressings and other such things) and then added a bit of cracked black pepper and some of the garlic salt from before. The next step was to add a few ladles of my thin soup into the jar, close the lid, and shake like crazy! This formed a thick liquid, which was subsequently poured back into the soup pot from whence it came. After a few minutes the soup began to thicken a bit.

This little guy escaped the wrath of
my immersion blender...this time...
Using My Favorite Appliance
Those of you who know me know what's coming next. I pulled out my immersion blender (one of my very favorite things) and went to town on this soup. I got most of the big chunks, but some little guys remained and I was totally okay with that. If you don't have an immersion blender, get one. Like right now. Seriously, they are amazing. Plus it really beats trying to work in batches to get the soup in a standing blender. That's what we call "lame" and "not worth your time". Just saying, immersion blenders FTW!

And that's it! It was quick and easy with a delicious outcome! I think that the next time I do this, I'll have to take the time to roast the tomatillos first to bring out a little bit different flavor and see the difference. Until then, this was a wonderful soup, and I hope that some of you will get serendipitous tomatillos (or purposeful tomatillos, whichever you prefer) to whip up some of this tomatillo cream soup! Happy eating! :)

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