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Soup is one of the easiest and most satisfying ways to stick to a healthy eating resolution. They’re naturally full of good-for-you things, like vegetables, broth and grains, so they’re an absolute essential when Scott and I recalibrate our diet after the holidays. Thing is, it never feels like diet-food to me and this Belly Warming Hatch Chile Ham Soup is so delicious — I think I’ll have seconds, please!
To make this and most other soups, stews and braises, I recommend a good quality dutch oven. I prefer enamel coated cast iron — they’re heavy, but they moderate the heat better than an aluminum or stainless steel pots. I have two and I use both of them regularly… So if you don’t already have one, here’s one by Dansk (it’s also got Mario Batali’s name attached to it) and I found this model which is billed as a lightweight cast iron via Sur La Table.
While most of the ingredients for this soup came from my pantry and the crisper drawer in the fridge, the fire-roasted hatch chiles did not. The chiles are courtesy of my good friend, Nola who brought back a bushel on her last trip out west. (If it weren’t for Nola, ours would be a bland existence.) If you don’t happen to be friends with Nola (yet), here’s a link to order your own hatch chiles. (Note: this link is through Thrive Market – kind of like a Costco membership model, but it gives access to tons of organic and hard to find items at a fraction of the regular cost!)
Hatch chiles have heat – but not overly so and if you’re ordering them online and not taking the luck of the draw from a chile bushel, you can specify your heat tolerance. Unless you are particularly sensitive, don’t worry about spicing it up too much, they just make a really flavorful broth with a little tingle – and if you are sensitive, check out this chicken noodle soup or this creamy tomato instead.
This soup comes together in under an hour – and most of that time is hands-off simmering time, which makes it fabulous for any weeknight meal! You can get the soup started and still help your kid with his Algebra homework.
I used a hearty multi-grain blend from Trader Joe’s for added heft, but you can also sub rice, quinoa, farro or barley for an equally delicious bowl of comfort.
Spicy Hatch Chile and Ham Soup
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 carrots peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
- 2 stalks celery cut into 1/2" pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ham cooked leftover, (not deli meat) cut into 1/2" pieces
- 1 bay leaf
- 7-8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 15- ounce can diced tomatoes with their juice
- 1 can low-sodium black beans rinsed and drained
- 1 cup mild chilies I used fire-roasted hatch chile, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup quinoa or other whole grains such as I used a grain blend from Trader Joe's, farro, brown rice
- In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Stir in the onions, carrots and celery and cook for 3-5 minutes, until softened.
- Add the ham, bay leaf, vegetable stock tomatoes, black beans and chiles. Stir to combine, cover and bring just to a boil.
- Reduce heat to an active simmer and add the grains. Cook for the recommended time on the package (quinoa is usually 15 minutes, farro is usually 20-25; brown rice is about 30).
- Taste for seasoning and serve.