Happy New Year! (A few days late.)
I’d say I’ve been recovering, but there’s not much recovering to be done from a lazy, relaxing, snowed-in holiday – one in which your mom does all the cooking, and you do all the napping.
Still, I think a 4 hour time difference and 13 hours of travel (including airport layovers and mechanical delays…) warrant a bit of recuperation in the form of sleep-ins and blog neglect.
I’m not one for resolutions. I am pretty steady person. I do, however, crave a hefty influx of vegetables as I get back into my normal cooking routine after a month of holiday gatherings, surprise birthday parties, baby showers and Christmas feasts.
Soup is my winter soul food – I make hearty, steaming, veggie-dense homemade soups about three times a week between November and March. I get the urge to share them all with you, but I risk this becoming a soup blog…
In January, I like the kind of soup that sticks to your ribs, no bread or other accompaniments needed. This one most definitely fits the bill, with hearty sweet potato, nutty peanut butter and creamy coconut milk. Jalapeño, Thai red curry paste, cilantro and lime juice provide heat and vibrance. Served piping hot, it’ll surely clear a head cold.
The nice thing about pureed soups is that you don’t have to be too perfect with the chopping – no careful dicing and mincing necessary, just a coarse run-through with the knife. I employ my pressure cooker to make fast work of tenderizing veggies – just 5 minutes to falling-apart sweet potato. It’s a kitchen goodie I highly recommend, if you didn’t get one for Christmas.
Garnished with fresh cilantro with some lime wedges alongside for squeezing, this flavourful soup easily wins as a first course at a dinner party. I enjoy it best, however, as a satisfying lunch to brighten up a few days’ worth of drizzly Vancouver afternoons.
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 cup chopped onion (from 1 medium-large onion)
- 1 jalapeno, chopped (seeds removed, if less heat is preferred)
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp Thai red curry paste
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1½" pieces
- 1 can (400 mL/14 oz) coconut milk
- 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- ⅓ cup natural peanut butter
- 3 tbsp minced fresh cilantro, plus additional for garnish
- salt, to taste
- ⅛ tsp cayenne (optional)
- 1 lime, cut in wedges (optional)
- Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until just softened. Add jalapeno and garlic; saute 1 minute. Stir in curry paste.
- Add chopped sweet potato, coconut milk and broth. Cover and cook until sweet potato is very soft, about 20 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender, or do it in batches in a regular blender.
- Stir in peanut butter, cilantro, and a generous pinch of salt. Stir, and adjust salt to taste. Add cayenne if additional heat is desired.
- Serve with more minced cilantro and lime wedges on the side.