While many supermarkets in our small New England town have low supplies of some foods (chicken and pork seem to sell out fast, and forget dried beans!), their fresh vegetables bins have remained bountiful. Whether I am ordering for curbside pick up or rushing through the store, I know there are vegetable counters that remain fully stocked. As a result in my fridge, I have a good supply of produce that I’ve been turning into soups. “When in doubt serve soup” is my mantra for nothing is more comforting and more nourishing! Here are two soups, both of which are favorites from my book, Soup Nights.
Warm or Cool Carrot Soup with Coconut and Lime is creamy with a vibrant orange hue, and is both quick and simple to prepare. It calls for easy-to-find ingredients, some of which you might even have on hand. An added bonus, it’s delicious served hot or cold!
For spicy Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Chorizo, Lime, and Cilantro, cauliflower florets are simmered and then turned into a smooth puree. Lime-scented sour cream adds a cooling touch and some pan-fried chorizo a bit of heat.
Soups with vegetables in starring roles–that’s what on the menu in my kitchen. Hope you’ll enjoy trying them, and that all of you are staying safe and well.
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Warm or Cool Carrot Soup with Coconut and Lime and Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Chorizo, Lime, Cilantro
Warm or Cool Carrot Soup with Coconut and Lime
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced about 1/4-inch thick
One 13.5 to 14-oz can regular or light coconut milk (see market note)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth or vegetable stock
4 tsp fresh lime juice
4 tsp chopped cilantro, for garnish, optional
1.In a large, heavy saucepan (with a lid) over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and sauté, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the carrots and stir 4 more minutes.
2.Add the coconut milk, chicken broth or vegetable stock, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until vegetables are very tender, 25 minutes. Cool slightly. Puree the soup in a food processor, blender or food mill, and return it to the pot. (Or, use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot.) Stir in the lime juice. Taste and season with more salt if needed.
3.If serving chilled, cool, cover, and refrigerate 5 hours or overnight. After the soup is well chilled, taste and season with more salt if needed since chilled soups often need extra seasoning. (The soup can be prepared 2 days ahead; cover and refrigerated. Reheat if serving warm.)
4.Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish each serving with a sprinkle of cilantro. Serves 4
Market note: Regular or light coconut milk is available in many supermarkets in the Asian section. Do not substitute cream of coconut, which is sweetened, for coconut milk, which is unsweetened.
Adapted from Soup Nights by Betty Rosbottom (Rizzoli 2016) Photo by Harry Zernike
Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Chorizo, Lime, and Cilantro
1 tbsp olive oil
6 oz chorizo, cut into 1/4-in dice (Use Spanish-style chorizo in casing, not loose Mexican-style chorizo)
2 cups (2 to 3 medium) chopped leeks, white and light green parts only
2 tsp chopped garlic
8 cups (about 1 1/2 lb cauliflower florets)
5 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp grated lime zest
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup toasted panko crumbs (recipe follows)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1.In a heavy pot over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil until hot. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring, until slightly crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside. Reduce the heat to medium and add the leeks to the drippings in the pan. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, one minute more. Add the cauliflower, broth, and 1 teaspoon salt.
2.Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the cauliflower is very tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Purée the soup in batches in a food processor, blender, or food mill. (Or use an immersion blender to purée the soup in the pot.)
3.Whisk together the sour cream and lime zest and stir half the mixture into the soup. Season the soup with more salt if needed and with 1/4 teaspoon or more black pepper. (Soup can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cook to this stage, then cool, cover, and refrigerate; cover and refrigerate the sautéed chorizo and the sour cream separately. Reheat, stirring often, over medium heat.)
4.Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish each serving with a dollop of the remaining sour cream. Serve with small bowls of chorizo, toasted panko, and cilantro for sprinkling.
Toasted Panko Crumbs
4 tsp olive or canola oil
1/2 cup panko crumbs
1.Heat oil in a medium, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add panko crumbs and stir until golden, only a few minutes. Remove and set aside.
Adapted from Soup Nights (Rizzoli 2016) by Betty Rosbottom Photo by Harry Zernike