The first frost made its way to our area a couple off nights ago so, after enjoying a long and unseasonable Autumn, it was time to say goodbye to the garden. I guess that officially makes it soup season here in Wisconsin. Although I enjoy eating and making soups year round, I find it most satisfying when cold weather comfort is needed. This recipe and accompanying article, published in Madison Magazine, November 2016, caught my eye because of its use of warm and vibrant spices and seasonal produce. It screamed Thanksgiving to me so I decided to test it out. I must say, it did not disappoint and will most definitely be making an appearance on my holiday table.
I do not always make soup for this occasion as there is such an abundance of food, but my dear friend taught me a few years ago that serving a small portion to get the meal started helps facilitate getting the group seated and settled before the main attraction. It also gives us time to offer thanks for all of our blessings and reflect on the gratitude we feel for those we love and are fortunate to have in our lives.
Here is how it went down.
SWEET POTATO, CARROT & COCONUT SOUP
Recipe by Annaliese Eberle
2T coconut oil or olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
4t chopped fresh ginger
1 large sweet potato, peeled & cut into 1 1/2” pieces
4-5 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1” slices
1t sea salt or more, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2t yellow curry powder
1t garam masala (or 1/8t grated nutmeg and 1/4t cinnamon)
1/4t smoked paprika
1/8-1/4t cayenne pepper
4c vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 of one 15oz. can full fat coconut milk, plus more for topping
Toasted sunflower, pumpkin seeds, baked chickpeas and whole grain bread
- Heat oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add onion, garlic, ginger, sweet potato and carrots, season with a good pinch of sea salt and pepper. Cook 5-7 minutes on medium-high, or until onions start to get tender and veggies begin to brown. Add the spices and cook another 1-2 minutes. Add stock, cover with lid. Cook until veggies are tender.
- Transfer to a blender (or use an immersion blender directly in the soup pot off the burner), and blend. Be safe while blending hot liquids, and puree in batches, of necessary. Add the coconut milk, taste and adjust seasonings if needed, and blend again until smooth.
- Serve with extra coconut milk and cayenne on top, along with toasted nuts/seeds, crispy chickpeas and whole-grain bread or pita.
Bonus: If you are in a time crunch, or are thinking ahead, this soup freezes beautifully for up to two months and can also be made in double or triple batches increasing the ingredients accordingly.
As stated in her article, Ms Eberle, suggests using the best possible produce and spices (preferably local) that you can get your hands on. I agree totally and think this applies to procuring ingredients for any recipe.
Both carrot and sweet potato have a natural sweetness as does onion, which perfectly balance the assertiveness of the spices. The creaminess of the coconut milk adds not just to the flavor but also to the silkiness of the texture giving it great mouth feel.
Because I cannot help myself, I admit to making a few changes. First of all, I used homemade chicken stock as my base, instead of her recommended vegetable, but either would do fine. I also changed the timing of adding the spices. She added hers after the vegetables were cooked and blended but I chose to add them to the vegetables before adding the stock to allow them to bloom and fully incorporate their flavors. This was simply a personal preference, you can decide what makes you happy. I highly advise not skipping the garnishes as they add just a nice crunch, a bit of heat and another punch of the delicious coconut. Admittedly, I left out the crispy chickpeas because I didn’t have any, but I do think they would be a lovely addition. For the suggested whole wheat bread, I chose to toast it rather dark and crumble it on top along with the other garnishes. The result was fabulous!
I hope you find this as comforting as I did and perhaps add it to your Thanksgiving menu. I will report back on how it was received at my house. Regardless, it would be a great addition to your cold-weather recipe collection and a delicious way to spread the love, one dish at a time. Until next time, I send warmth and love to you from my kitchen. Let’s all be kind to each other, Jeanne
Celebrate the season!