March 25, 2011

Soup for a Rainy Friday Night

It's almost spring, and I'm excited about the fresh NW vegetables that will soon be available at the local farmers markets. I can't wait to try out a few new recipes with tender-local ingredients. 

Even though you can sense a quiet change in the weather, evenings are still quite chilly, and call for a filling, hot, soul nourishing soup.  This particular recipe is full of vibrant flavor, is made with still easy to find, winter root vegetable ingredients.  My kids actually LOVE it and it's really inexpensive to make.   It's a fabulous little recipe that I invented after being inspired by a cookbook I found at the beach called, "Stop the Clock Cooking".  It's a twist on an African Stew, and it has coconut milk and peanut butter in it for added creaminess and a deep rich flavor that is actually good for you.

The only tricky part is cutting up all of the veggies...

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 finely chopped medium red onion
1 finely chopped medium green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
3 minced garlic cloves
2 Tbs peeled, minced fresh ginger
1 Tbs curry powder
2 large peeled halved, seeded chopped tomatoes (or 1 cup tomato sauce)
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 medium sized sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 can drained chick peas
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup (plus a little extra if you LOVE it like I do) creamy or crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro without stems (for garnish)

Heat olive oil in a 4-quart saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onion, bell pepper, carrot and celery and saute until fragrant; do not brown garlic.   Add sweet potato and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, ginger, and curry powder and saute until fragrant; do not brown garlic.  Add tomatoes and bay leaf and cook, uncovered, until tomatoes are slightly reduced, about 3 minutes.

Add broth and bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to low.  Add sweet potato and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Stir in chick peas, peanut butter and coconut milk until combined.  Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.  Top with cilantro and season with salt and pepper.

* This recipe makes a generous size pot, and the leftovers are perfect for a chilly Saturday after picking up the kids from track, softball and baseball practices.  I sometimes serve it over a bowl of warm brown rice, serve a side salad for a hearty weekend lunch.

1 comment:

  1. a little cooked and shredded chicken makes this even more hearty...