But what do you do when you get bored with the classics--when you've already made vegetable beef and chicken tortilla and chili, but you're still itching to fill your crockpot with soup? You need this soup in your life.
I tore the recipe out of Better Homes and Gardens a couple of years ago. I've been a little bit obsessed with cinnamon in savory dishes ever since discovering it was the secret ingredient in my friend Mandy's chicken enchiladas. I love sweet-spicy combinations. And I love orange-flavored just about anything. So when I saw this, I was immediately intrigued. I don't typically buy cinnamon in stick form, but we had some on hand after one of Steve's homemade apple wine experiments, so I had to give this soup a try. And I am so glad I did!
Every time I make this, I love it more. This is one of only a few recipes where I've barely changed a thing. The original calls for doing everything in a saucepan on the stove, which would make fewer dishes, but I much prefer to get my food prep done in the morning and let soup simmer in the crockpot all day. If you're in a hurry, you could probably even skip the stovetop step altogether and dump the raw pork and chili powder directly in the crockpot with everything else--but I can't promise you won't miss the extra flavor that comes with browning the meat.
Also, don't skimp on the orange peel or skip the cinnamon--they are what make this soup lively and interesting! The end result is so satisfying, bright and zesty without actually being spicy. (Poblanos, for the record, aren't hot--they are large and green, sort of an elongated bell pepper.) This has a totally different flavor profile than any other soup I make.
Pork and Poblano Soup
adapted, barely, from Better Homes and Gardens
- 1 to 1 1/4 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into bite-sized pieces*
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- 2 T oil
- 1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 red (or orange, or yellow) bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 14.5-oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
- 2 c. chicken or pork stock
- 1/4 c. orange juice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 tsp. orange zest
- salt, to taste (you may need to add up to 1 tsp. if you're using homemade stock)
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork with chili powder and cook in batches for about 4-5 minutes or until browned. (Avoid overcrowding to ensure adequate browning.) Use a slotted spoon to remove browned meat from the skillet.
Add peppers and onions to skillet and cook until just tender (about five minutes).
Transfer meat and vegetables to a large oval crockpot and add tomatoes, broth, and juice. Cook on low for about 4-6 hours. Add the cinnamon stick during the last 30-60 minutes.
Before serving, remove cinnamon stick and stir in orange zest.
Yield: About 4 servings.
Note: This freezes beautifully, so you're crazy if you don't double the recipe, cook it in a 6-quart oval crockpot, and freeze half of it flat in a gallon Ziploc bag. I've even quadrupled it, since I have two large crockpots. You'll thank yourself on a night when soup sounds delicious but you don't feel like cooking.