Creamy Poblano Chicken Soup

chickenpoblanosoupAfter another Southern California winter week with temperatures over 80 degrees, I was looking for any excuse to make soup.  Today the Santa Ana Winds blew in and dropped the temperature to a “Brisk” 69 degrees so I rushed to get the pressure cooker and Vitamix working so I could enjoy my favorite cool night meal:

Creamy Poblano Chicken Soup

  • 2 Roasted Poblano Peppers
  • 1 Roasted Sweet Potato (or Yam)
  • 1 Roasted Small Yellow Onion
  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 32 oz Chicken Stock (I use Emeril’s)
  • 4-5 Cloves Garlic Finely Chopped
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese (Room Temperature)
  • 1 lb diced chicken breast
  • 2 Cups Shredded Colby & Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Freshly Ground Sea Salt & Pepper to taste
  1. Roast the sweet potato in the pressure cooker for 15 minutes on high.  Remove and set aside.
  2. Using the Brown function on the pressure cooker, roast the Poblano peppers, the quartered onion and the garlic in the olive oil for 10 minutes after the cooker comes up to temperature.  Remove from pan when done.
  3. Add the chicken to the pressure cooker pan and again set it to the Brown function.  Cook the chicken for about 10 minutes, or until just cooked through.
  4. Remove the seeds and stems from the peppers.
  5. Add peppers, onion, sweet potato, garlic, 1 Cup of the broth, and cream cheese to the Vitamix container.  Process on low to medium speed until well combined and smooth.
  6. Add the chicken to the Vitamix container and process on the low setting until chicken shreds and is no longer in chunks.
  7. Pour contents of Vitamix container back into the pressure cooker pan.  Add remaining 3 cups of stock, the shredded cheese.  Stir until well combined.  Taste and adjust the seasoning if desired.
  8. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and select the Stew/Soup function.  After the machine reaches cooking temperature, cook for 10 minutes.
  9. When cooking is complete, release pressure, stir and serve soup while hot.

Serve with buttered toasted sourdough croutons, a dollop of sour cream and sliced avocado if desired.

**Vegetarian Option:  Don’t add the chicken if you would like to serve this as a side or keep it meat-free.

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Time to Break Out the Fat Pants!

champagneWe are officially one week away from the start of “Holiday Season.”

Thanksgiving kicks off 5-6 weeks of excess in all things food and drink related:  Happy Hours, Office Parties, Open Houses, Secular Celebrations, End of Year and New Year’s Day blowouts that inevitably result in most people’s pants feeling a bit too snug.

I wouldn’t want to keep anyone, least of all myself, from indulging to the limits of their pants (and beyond), so it’s officially also the kickoff for all of the recipes for the rich, gooey, fattening, but oh so yummy foods I’ll be serving at celebrations from now through the end of the year.

Since Thanksgiving is the first holiday where I’ll be hosting a crowd, I’ll start with the side dish I prepare instead of the candied yams of my youth.

oldschoolcandiedyamsYou know the ones  am talking about:  A can or two of yam chunks mixed with an orange juice, brown sugar type concoction, chunks of butter, chopped pecans, and piled high with mini-marshmallows then baked until they are bubbly and the marshmallows are a delightful shade of brown.

I’m certainly not knocking this old school family treat, but I like the opportunity the availability of fresh ingredients gives me to keep the flavor while cutting some of the fat and calories.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Gingersnap Streusel

  • 6 Large Sweet Potatoes (or Yams)
  • 1/2 Cup Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Butter (Melted)
  • 1/2 Cup Half & Half or Heavy Cream
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 to 2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (to taste)


  • 2 TBLS All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Cold Butter, Cut into Pieces
  • 32 Coarsely Crushed Gingersnap Cookies (Not too fine)
  • Additional 1/4 Cup Butter (Melted)

sweet-potatoes-oh-1677905-lPeel sweet potatoes, cut into slices and cook in boiling water to cover over medium heat 25 – 30 minutes or until fork tender. Drain and put into large bowl then mash (leave some chunks).

Combine mashed sweet potato, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and next 5 ingredients in a mixing bowl; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer. Spoon into a greased 2 1/2-quart or 13″ x 9″ baking dish.

To make the streusel:  Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar and flour. Cut in 1/4 cup cold butter with a pastry blender (or two forks at opposite directions) until crumbly. Stir in crushed gingersnaps. Sprinkle streusel over sweet potatoes. Drizzle the additional ¼ cup butter over the top of the streusel. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25 – 30 minutes or until streusel is lightly browned.

Make Ahead: Prepare sweet potato filling, and spoon into a greased 2 1/2-quart microwave-safe dish. Cover and chill overnight. Microwave on HIGH 10 minutes or until hot. Prepare streusel, and sprinkle over filling. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20 minutes or until streusel is lightly browned.

My family  become such big fans of this recipe that I get asked, even on non-holidays, to bring it to dinner.  🙂   Tomorrow, Let’s talk turkey!

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