White Bean Soup with Chile Paste
Ancho (Ahn-cho) Chile (Capsicum Annum) means Wide Chile Pepper. This chile ranges from 3 – 4 on a heat scale of 1 to 10. An Ancho is the dried form of a Poblano Pepper and often is mislabeled as a Pasilla or Mulato Pepper. Anchos have sweet fruity flavor with hints of cherry, prune, and fig. Anchos, combined with the Pasilla and Guajillo, form the Holy Trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces. Scoville heat units are 1,000 to 3,000.
Anchos are great in salsa, soups, enchilada and any sauce needing mild heat and chile flavor. Chopped, pureed or ground, they can be added directly to your recipes.
2 dried ancho chiles,* stemmed, seeded
1 dried chile de arbol,* stemmed, seeded
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups dried Great Northern beans
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 large white onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
8 cups (or more) water
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 cup whipping cream
For chile paste:
Place chiles in bowl and add enough water to cover. Let stand at room temperature overnight. Drain. Boil 1 1/2 cups water, sugar, and chiles in small saucepan until 2 tablespoons liquid remain, about 15 minutes. Transfer to processor and puree until smooth. With machine running, gradually add oil. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.
Place beans in large pot. Add enough water to cover by 4 inches. Let soak overnight.
Drain beans. Melt butter in same pot over medium-high heat. Add celery, carrot, onion, and garlic cook until soft, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Add beans and 8 cups water. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, and cook until beans are soft, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours. Stir in cumin and coriander cool. Working in batches, puree soup in blender, adding water by 1/4 cupfuls if too thick. Return to same pot. Stir in cream. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
Rewarm soup. Divide among bowls. Drizzle with chile paste. Swirl paste into soup and serve.