Where else in the country are you craving soup these days? Probably no where other than San Francisco. I don’t remember another summer when I wanted to shut myself in the kitchen and braise, stew, and simmer away. It’s just not right!
But, if you’ve got to do it then tasty recipes are important. I picked up the winter 2010 edition of Donna Hay Magazine, one of my all time favorites (the magazine hails from Australia, hence the current issue is “winter”). There were pages of simple soups full of big flavors, all made with ingredients found in any well stocked pantry. I was drawn to many but the Red Curry Sweet Potato Soup grabbed me first. It’s a basic pureed vegetable soup with the extra punch of Thai red curry paste, fresh ginger, and coconut milk. I didn’t have a sweet potato so I used a beautiful small head of organic cauliflower plus a small baking potato. The prep came together in about five minutes, including the prep, and with the help of my immersion blender and a 20 minute simmer, I had succulent soup.
This is a base recipe you could use with many substitutions. Sweet potato, of course, but I’m thinking butternut or acorn squash, parsnips, carrots, or celery root-even a combination of veggies. Light coconut milk would work, although the texture may not be so rich. Veggie stock for chicken stock is an easy swap too.
Give it a try and make it your own. Looks good, doesn’t it?
Curried Cauliflower Soup (inspired by Donna Hay)
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, chopped
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbs minced fresh ginger
2 tsp red curry paste
1 1/2 pounds chopped cauliflower (I cut mine into 1-inch pieces)
1/2 pound peeled and finely chopped baking potato
4 cups chicken stock
1 can (about 2 cups) coconut milk, well shaken
1 tbs sour cream
2 tbs chopped fresh cilantro
Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and, when hot, add the onion, garlic, and ginger with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are translucent but not browned, 4-5 minutes. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, 1 minute more. Stir in the cauliflower and potato with another pinch of salt. Add the chicken stock, increase the heat to medium high, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the coconut milk, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower and potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until completely smooth. Alternatively, the soup can be pureed in a traditional blender. Heat the soup gently, taste, and season as needed with additional salt and pepper. Soup can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated at this point up to three days (or frozen up to 3 weeks).
Ladle hot soup into warm soup bowls, topping each with just a bit of sour cream and a sprinkling of cilantro. Serve right away.