Soup Recipes: Warm up with these soups, stews, chowders, and chilis

Winter has arrived in earnest; it's the long, bitter, double-up-on-socks cold of January and February. These are the months for soup, and Stir It Up! has the perfect collection of soup, stew, chowder, and chili recipes.

Creamy chipotle tomato soup

The Gourmand Mom
This tomato soup a spicy, smokey flavor with the addition of a chipotle pepper. A bit of heavy cream balances the spice and gives the soup a rich texture.

By Amy DelineThe Gourmand Mom
Makes 2 generous servings 

3 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled and deseeded, coarse chopped*
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 chipotle pepper (from a can of chipotles in adobo)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Chipotle Tabasco Sauce, optional (for garnish)

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion. Cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add the tomatoes, vegetable stock, chipotle pepper, and tomato paste.

2. Simmer over medium/medium-low heat for about 25 minutes, stirring frequently. The tomatoes should almost completely break down during the cooking time. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then transfer to a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth, then return to the pan. Add the cream. Season with salt, to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon should do the trick).

3. Add cayenne pepper, to taste, if additional spiciness is desired. Warm gently over medium-low heat. Garnish with a few dashes of chipotle tabasco and homemade croutons.

* For the homemade croutons, simply toss a few chunks of French bread in a bit of olive oil, season with cajun seasoning or any other seasoning, then bake in a 375 degrees F. oven until toasted, about 10 minutes or so.

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