Soup recipes from Chef Koetke

Clam Caraway Chowder

Serves: 6

16 cherrystone clams, well cleaned

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 cup low sodium chicken broth

1 ½ cups water

4 strips bacon, finely chopped

½ cup finely chopped celery

½ cup finely chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup flour

1 cup cream

2 cups milk

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaf

1 ½ cups diced potato

1.  Place clams, caraway, stock and water in a large covered saucepan.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove clams and strain the juice.
2.  Chop the clam meat as finely as possible and reserve.
3.  In a large saucepan, gently cook the bacon, onions, and celery until soft.
4.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute.  Add flour and cook 1 more minute.
5.  Add cream and milk and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Cook until thickened.
6.  Add the reserved clam juice, seasonings, and potatoes.  Simmer for around 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
7.  Add chopped clam meat.  Season to taste with salt and white pepper and serve.

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

This soup marries sweet comfort food with the smoky bite of chipotles.  It is perfect for cold weather and takes advantage of all the healthy attributes of sweet potatoes without loading up the fat!  The extra can be frozen for later or eaten over a couple of days when stored in the refrigerator.  This makes a very spicy soup.  If you want it less spicy, add half of the chipotle chilies.

Difficulty: Moderate
Prep Time:  15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Serves: 12

3 ½ pounds sweet potatoes (about 10 medium sweet potatoes)

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 cups diced onions

1 cup celery, small dice

6 cloves minced garlic

1 teaspoon Chile powder

½ of a 7.5 oz can Chipotle chile in adobo sauce (reserve 2 teaspoons sauce for salsa)—this will make a VERY spicy soup.  If you desire a soup

that is not quite spicy, you can reduce this by half.  You can also add a smaller amount and during the blending process, add more

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaf

2 bay leaves

8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

½ teaspoon salt

1.    Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and roast in a 350° F oven for about 2 hours or until the sweet potatoes are very soft.  Remove from oven and let cool.

2.    In a large pot, sauté onions and celery in olive oil until the onions are soft (about 8 minutes).  Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.  Add chile powder, chipotle, cumin, oregano, and bay leaves.  Cook for 30 seconds or until the spices are fragrant.

3.    Add broth and salt.  Peel sweet potatoes and place them in the broth.   Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

4.    Remove bay leaf and process soup in a blender until smooth.  Be very careful when blending hot soup as it can come out of the blender if you are not careful.  Never fill the blender container more than half way.  Always start blending on the lowest speed, and cover the blender with a thick kitchen towel which you hold to the top of the blender.

5.    Serve soup with sesame cilantro salsa (below).

Sesame Cilantro Salsa

Difficulty: Easy

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Serves:  12

1 bunch of cilantro (including stems), minced

¼ cup roasted sesame seeds

4 green onions, minced

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup lime juice

2 teaspoons Adobo sauce from chipotles

6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1.    Place all ingredients in the blender and process just until smooth.  If the blender has a hard time grinding the ingredients, add more water.


Chef Chris Koetke at work in the kitchen. (Chicago Tribune photo by Chris Walker)


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