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Sopa de Chile Poblano

(Mexican piquant poblano chile soup)

Talk about an appetite stimulator! This light, creamy soup is layered with flavors, is a lovely shade of green, and boy does it pack a punch, leaving your lips tingling in the most pleasant way. Many thanks to David Janssen of Blaine, Minnesota, for the recipe. David has gathered recipes and food ideas from his business travels throughout Europe and North America and recreated them in his kitchen--like this one. Soups and stews are his particular favorites "because of the flavors that can be achieved in one's good eats on a cold winter day or night." Serve hot to 4-6 people as a first course for dinner or with a sandwich or salad for lunch.

Garnish: 5 Tablespoons of Mexican crema (or sour cream) and some toasted almonds

Melt the butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the chiles, onion, and garlic, and sauté til softened, about 3 minutes. Pour in the broth, peas, salt, and pepper, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Purée the soup in a blender, solids first, then pour in the ground almonds and process well until smooth. Taste for seasoning. When ready to serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with a swirl of cream and a few sprinkled toasted almonds.