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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring Soups

The calendar says "Spring" and yet there is still snow on the deck. Expecting another 3 inches tonight than WHAM! up into the 50's next week. A person can get a bit unsettled from these weather changes. Now, having some warm soup with lots of vegetables to keep you warm on the inside and nutritionally satisfied, brings a bright moment to an overcast day and the rich flavors can put a smile back on your face.

Two soups for you here. One I created for the Cleanse session and it was so good I had to retest it with the Organic Gardening group this past Sunday. It was still delicious, so I offer you the recipe here. I know you will want to make it from canned chickpeas, but trust me when I say cooking with the dried chickpeas is the best way to go when reaching for full flavor. Try it and you will see. (Also, because I was cooking for groups of 12-16 the recipes are large, so cut in half or freeze the extras).

Then I made a batch of dashi (Japanese style broth) and added to it until this incredible soup emerged. Luckily I made enough for a few days because I looked forward to each lunch knowing this was waiting for me. All I had to do was bring to a simmer and add my favorite butternut ravioli, turn off the heat and let it sit.  Made with wheat, but no dairy this lovely ravioli pasta even works well on its own tossed with a olive oil, garlic and anchovy sauce, mmmm mmm. Ah, but I digress. I will now let the recipes speak for themselves.

Coconut Green Curry Vegetable Soup
Serves 10-12

2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
2 cups celery hearts, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 inch piece kombu
8 cups water

3 tablespoons sesame or coconut oil
½ onion, minced
3 clove garlic, minced
1" piece ginger, peeled, minced
2 tablespoons Taste of Thailand Green Curry Paste

Sea salt
1 15 ounce can coconut milk

1. Drain the soaked chickpeas and in a large, heavy saucepan combine chickpeas with the water, celery, carrots, sweet potato and kombu. Bring to a low boil and allow to cook for 40 minutes or until chickpeas are tender.
2. In a small food processor or bullet puree the oil, onion, garlic, ginger, and curry paste until well chopped and almost a paste. Actually, as much as a paste as you can get it.
3. Heat a small heavy skillet and add the curry paste mixture, stirring well. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring often, until done, about 3 minutes.
4. Add the curry paste mixture to the chickpeas and vegetables. Add some of the soup water to the skillet and wash any residue into the soup.
5. Continue to simmer the soup another 10 minutes, then salt to taste and stir in the coconut milk. Heat through, turn off the heat, cover and allow to sit until ready to serve.
5. Top each individual bowl with ground sesame seeds, minced fresh cilantro or chopped peanuts and minced parsley.

Butternut Ravioli Vegetable Soup
Serves 6

6 cups water
1 4-inch piece of kombu
¼ cup bonito flakes

½ cup sliced dried shitake mushrooms
½ cup dried daikon, soaked and drained (optional, but so good for you)
1 carrot, chopped
½ onion, chopped
2 tablespoons wakame, small dried pieces
½ sweet potato peeled, chopped
Rising Moon Organic Butternut ravioli (or something similar)
2 cups fresh kale, chopped
3 teaspoons tamari soy sauce

1 teaspoon Garlic Red Pepper miso (South River)
1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)

Toasted sesame oil
Minced green onion

 1. Make the dashi (broth) in a large saucepan by combining the water, kombu and bonito flakes. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain dashi and set aside the kombu and bonito flakes to reuse for another batch of dashi.
2. In a large saucepan combine the strained dashi, shitake mushrooms, soaked daikon, carrot, onion, wakame, and sweet potato. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are just tender. You can now take from this basic soup the amount you need and freeze or refrigerate the rest.
3. Ladle a serving or two into a smaller saucepan and add 4 ravioli per serving. Return to a simmer and add the chopped kale. Cook until ravioli is tender.
4. Meanwhile, add the miso and anchovy paste to each bowl and ladle enough broth to dissolve. Continue to add the soup with vegetables. Finish with a few drops of toasted sesame oil, minced green onion and ground toasted sesame seeds (gomasio).

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