Saturday, November 23, 2013

Week J - Spice it up with Jalapeno

Jalapeno a Day Keeps the Doctor away

Jalapenos are native to Xalapa, Mexico. They can add a spicy or smoky flavor to a variety of dishes, and they are jam packed with health benefits! 

Capsaisan is an active compound found in chile peppers that hold the spice of the pepper. From building a strong immune system, unblocking nasal congestion, cancer fighting, weight loss, blood pressure reduction there are many medicinal benefits to adding this sweet spicy pepper to your diet. 

When you are at the grocery store, the spicier peppers will be more mature and packed with that spicy punch!

Sadly my photos were lost, but I have a deliciously simple Italian inspired soup that will spice up a cold night.

Spicy Tomato Fennel Soup

  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced 1/4"
  • 3 garlic bulbs, minced
  • 5 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large fennel bulb, diced 1/4" (4 cups)
  • 1/2 jalapeno, you can seed or keep seeds in; depending on how spicy you want the soup, minced
  • 2 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • 3 Tofuky Chick'n Apple Sausage, sliced into ½-inch-thick rounds (2 cups) - if you aren't veggie, chicken apple sausage works too.
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • salt & pepper to taste (approximately 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, fresh ground)
1. Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add diced onions and sauté until translucent. 
2. Continue by adding fennel, and sauté 3 to 5 minutes. Add in mushrooms and continue to cook down the mushrooms, letting the waters from the mushrooms release. You might need to add a little more oil, as the mushrooms need the oil once the water has evaporated. Add in garlic and jalapeno. Continue to gently sauté
3. Add tomatoes and sherry vinegar, to help delgaze if any fonds that start to stick to the pot. This will absorb the flavors into the tomatoes. After a minute add the vegetable broth and parsley; cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes. 
4. In a separate pan, preferably iron skillet, heat pan with a table spoon of oil on a medium high heat. Add the sausage and let the first side brown, then repeat on flipping the sausage to the second side. Once this is complete, remove from heat and place in a separate bowl to add the soup once it has reduced. I place these in later because they are made with wheat; they do not hold the same way a meat fill sausage would. Plus the browning from the skillet keeps the firm texture to the sausage. mmmm...
5. Right before serving, stir in sausages and cook 5 to 7 minutes.
6. Garnish with fresh parsley and Parmesan Cheese. 
Option: Serve with a fresh olive bread and enjoy!! 

Here are some links to the health benefits of jalapenos: