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New Mexico chili powder (Recipe: Carmen's black bean soup)


What's better than wandering the aisles of a small local market, finding new foods and imagining new possibilities, filling your shopping cart with herbs and spices, pickles and produce, discovering that something you brought home from the market is so good that you want to give it a permanent home in your pantry?

What's better than that?

Having those wonderful pantry items come right to your door. With recipes!

Twice in the past week, glorious spices -- spicy spices -- with recipes included arrived via US Mail.

When Katie from Thyme for Cooking and Lindsay of Country girl city living came up with the idea of Seasoned Eatings, I, pantry junkie that I am, had to join in. The idea was simple: send a spice that represents where you live or how you cook (mine went here), and receive a spice from someone else.

Carmen, who grew up in New Mexico but now lives in Mississippi, where she writes Articles dans la poucan, sent me New Mexico chili powder, which happens to be one of the spices I always keep in my pantry. Unlike the blended chili powder that's a mix of chile pepper, cumin, salt and pepper, this chili powder (which should be called chile powder -- remember the whole "chile with an e" discussion here?) is pure ground long New Mexico green and red chile peppers, varieties with names like Big Jim, Eclipse, Rio Grande, Anaheim, Chimayo, Sunrise, Sunset, Sandia and Española.

In addition to adding zing to your cooking, New Mexico chile peppers are among the world's healthiest foods; the capcaisin in chile peppers helps reduce inflammation, boost immunity, prevent ulcers, and lower blood sugar.

You can find New Mexico chili powder in Latin markets, in regular (moderately mild) or hot varieties. Use either one in recipes for pork picadillo, turkey chili or vegetarian chili, egg curry and salmon with fruit salsa.

Thank you, Carmen!

(Next post: the other wonderful spice that arrived by mail last week.)

Carmen's black bean soup

In the package with the chili powder, Carmen included several recipes for chili, enchiladas, and this soup. Everyone has his or her own way of making black bean soup, but the texture of Carmen's version intrigued me. I've added onions, because I can't seem to make soup without them. Serves 2.


2 15-oz cans black beans
1 tsp canola oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1-1/2 Tbsp New Mexico chili powder
Salt and black pepper, to taste


In a food processor, grind one can of black beans (with the liquid in the can). In a sauce pan, add oil and onion, and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the black bean puree from the processor, the second can of black beans (with the liquid in the can), and all remaining ingredients. Simmer on lowest heat until thickened, stirring often to keep the soup from burning, 2-3 hours.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:

White chili
South End Deep Root Chili
Zuni corn soup
Football season chili


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Treat yourself to a weekend in Providence, which has become one hot foodie destination. Visit the Johnson & Wales Culinary Archives, eat at the famous Al Forno or New Rivers or the hip new Local 121. Start with our Menu for Hope prize, generously offered by Rhode Island Market Tours: 

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To learn more about Drop In & Decorate Cookies for Donation, including how to host your own party, visit www.ninecooks.com; then stop in at A Veggie Venture, 37 Days, Culinary Types, Nikas Culinaria, Homesick Texan, Food Blogga, The Inadvertent Gardener, Jaden's Steamy Kitchen, La Mia Cucina, One Hot Stove, The Cooking Adventures of Chef Paz, French Kitchen in America, Veronica's Test Kitchen, Kelly the Culinarian, shawnkenney.com, Thyme for Cooking: The Blog, Chew on That, Nook & Pantry, Cookthink, Tea & Cookies, Mele Cotte, Cream Puffs in Venice, startcooking.com, Shazam in the Kitchen, The Family Quilt, The Daily Tiffin, Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy, The Budget Bambino, Baking and Books, What's for Lunch, Honey?, The Pink Hobart and Fun and Food.

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I like to add chili powder in my curry beef pies.

two or trhee Hours? isn´t it pure mush by the end? I´m intrigued

I'm sure learning a lot about chili powder and New Mexico chiles from you, Lydia. Thanks to your lovely posts, perhaps one day we'll be able to break out of our little Tex-Mex box around here.

Great spice! Chili spices do boost immunity. Whenever I have a cold I go for the spicy soup. And my herbalist said that if I have a weird stomach problem to eat something spicy with chilies because it will make your gut inhospitable to the bad stuff that is plaguing it.

I've been hungry for chili lately - this sounds even better.
Now, I noticed something called 'spice for chile/e (roughly translated) at the store last week... Think I'll buy ir and see if I can figure out what it is!

Oh yes Lydia, I do love the spicy chili powders and am always keeping my eyes open for new ones to try. And black bean soup is such a favorite in our house.

I really love black bean soup! What a great use for that chili powder :)

I kick myself for not partaking in the spice exchange this time around...next time...!

The soup sounds tasty and the powder looks like a fun ingredient to work with. I know I'm like a kid in a candy store every month when my new hot sauces come in the mail...

Tigerfish, that sounds delicious.

Lobstersquad, I think all of the beans just break down and make a delicious smooth soup. It's definitely a new method to me, but Carmen is from New Mexico, where they make the best black bean soup.

Kathy, I'm having such fun exploring the world of chiles. And to think that, ten years ago, I didn't eat any spicy food. One visit to New Orleans really woke up my palate.

Veron, I'm glad to know that chiles are good medicine. I know that when I'm sick, I crave spicy food -- makes me feel like I'm chasing the illness away with the sheer force of the heat of the chile.

Katie, wouldn't it be fun to discover great chile powder in France? But if that's not it, I'm always happy to put a bit in the mail to you.

MyKitchen, I must have half a dozen different ground chiles in my pantry at all times!

Hillary, black bean soup is one of my favorites, too.

Mike, are you in some kind of hot sauce club that sends you new sauces each month? That would be wonderful!

I love that brand. We have it in my grocery store, and I use it all the time

Note to self: You ran out of it weeks ago--buy more!

Great description of chile powder and interesting recipe for black bean soup. This was such a fun event -- Katie and Lindsay are so great for thinking it up. Nothing better than getting spices in the mail!

Yup, hot sauce of the month. They send two hot sauce kind of things each month (sauce, jellies, rubs, salsa, etc). Definitely good stuff and keeps me trying great new things I might not have otherwise bought.

Sher, do stock up when you find this brand -- at least out here on the East Coast, it's not all that easy to find except in the Latino grocery stores. I always feel better when the pantry is filled with hot and spicy things.

Laurie, welcome to The Perfect Pantry. I had such fun waiting for my surprise package, and sending mine off (to Sher!). Look forward to doing more spice exchanges.

Mike, this definitely appeals to me!! Will have to check it out. (note to husband who might be reading this comment: wouldn't hot sauce of the month be a great present for your favorite cook?)

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