That One Soup Experiment

October 30, 2013

This week I've been upping the vitamin D, because, sunshine: where are you? This might be the year that I invest in a happy light, although the one I want is pricy. Until then, I will coast on endorphins from the gym, and attempt to be Embracing Of The Season. Which means, open to and excited about the things that make late fall/early winter delightful: warm beverages, leaves, soup. Especially the soup. Ben's been in LA this week, working on a project for TNTP (pretty much the same as shooting a hollywood film), and I've had the temptation to split my solo meals between pizza, and the leftover curry from the weekend-- all eaten in front of some electronic device.

But last night I fought the grey weather blues, and went to the grocery store. I concocted a soup that combined the spicy coconut milk base of this chicken chili with the Caldo Verde (Portuguese kale soup) featured in this month's Cook's Illustrated. It was one of the best soups I've ever made (which a photo cannot do justice to), and definitely made me feel better about the weather.


Curried Coconut Chorizo Soup-- serves 4

Ingredients:
(Feel free to adapt these based on what you have on-hand. For instance, I used a diced chicken breast, in place of a 3rd chorizo sausage. You could use tofu, or even additional veggies in place of a protein.)

2-3 large chorizo sausages, diced up

1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 sweet potato, cubed
1 onion, diced
a bunch of collard greens (you could also use kale), stems cut off and sliced
3 carrots, diced
a 1-2" piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely diced
1 jalapeno, diced (I used seeds-in, but remove them-- or use 1/2 the pepper-- if you like less spice)

4-6 cups chicken or veg stock (or water)
1 can coconut milk

1/2 t. curry powder
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. paprika
Salt
Pepper
(Note: I don't actually measure spices. Season to taste.)

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1) Sauté the diced chorizo (or whatever protein you're using) in 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil (or some other high heat oil) over medium heat. (I used chicken chorizo, so I needed 2 tablespoons of oil, but if you use pork--which has a higher fat content-- you probably won't.)

2) Add the onion, and cook until slightly soft. Add all of the diced vegetables, except for the greens. Cook for 2 more minutes. Then add the chicken stock (or veg stock, or water), and spices, and crank the heat up to high. (You might need more liquid-- the stock should cover the veggies.) When the soup begins to boil, turn it to a simmer and cover it for about 10 minutes.

3) Add the collard greens and let them simmer in the soup for 10 minutes.

4) Add the coconut milk, and stir. Poke veggies with a fork, and see if they are tender. Continue simmering until everything appears cooked.

This was all very improvised last night, and maybe you can think of better methods (or even different ingredients).  I even tried baking the squash first in the oven, and then spooning the rest of the soup mixture over it, which I don't recommend. The best part of the soup is the ginger/jalapeno/coconut base, which you could pretty much put anything in.

What's your favorite soup? And have you used light therapy with success?

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