The hotbed of chiles in Spain is the valley of La Vera, where the pimientos (chiles) are grown and smoked to make the famous spice pimentón de la Vera. The majority of the pimentón goes to the sausage factories, where it is used to spice up, flavor, and brighten up the famous Spanish chorizo. But it is also packed in tins for the consumer market. There are three varieties of pimentón--sweet (dulce), hot (picante), and bittersweet (agridulce). The hot type is used in winter soups, chorizo, and Galician pulpo, or octopus. The octopus is boiled and sliced, then sprinkled with olive oil, salt, and hot pimentón powder. Interestingly, there are recipes for chorizo and potato stews that utilize all three of the types of pimentón. Serve this sauce over grilled seafood and chicken.
Using a commercial salsa as a base for this soup makes it quick and easy to prepare as well as allowing you to choose your spice level from mild to wild. The heat of the salsa will intensify, so I won’’t use anything that is too hot or a salsa that is habanero based. This simple soup can also be expanded to a more hearty soup, with the addition of ingredients such as cooked pinto or black beans, chicken or turkey, or even whole kernel corn. Add these to the soup after it has been pureed. For a taste of green chile, chicken enchiladas in a soup bowl, just use green chile salsa and chicken.