I call the show this week, ‘The Soup Show’, but I really should have called it, ‘How To Keep From Packing On The Pounds During The Holiday Season Show’. My guest and good friend, actress Julia Smyth, and I talked about the temptations facing us all this time of year – beginning with the Halloween candy the stores put prominently out for sale in September. It’s hard to resist the luscious food & libations that seem to beckon us from everywhere, like a siren luring unwary sailors.
A soup commercial from years ago gave me the idea of having soup for lunch, and maybe even having a cup before dinner. Perhaps you remember the commercial – a girl hanged her itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny-polka-dot-bikini on her wall as a reminder that she wanted to fit into it for swimsuit season, so she had soup for lunch. Well, Julia and I have no intention of publicly wearing an itsy-bitsy anything anymore, but, as actresses, we need to watch those creeping pounds. Soup is cheap, filling, nutritious, and – depending on the soup – lower in calories than a lot of lunches. A bowl before dinner curbs the appetite so you don’t dive into your dinner, coming up for air many bites after your brain is able to tell your stomach it’s full.
The Sweet Potato-Coconut Milk-Coriander Soup recipe I’m sharing is a delightful fall soup. I’ve used both a packet of dried coconut milk and the canned kind. I couldn’t taste the difference. Just decrease the vegetable stock amount (which I’ve written in the recipe) if you’re using canned. I also shared my Vegetable Stock recipe – a nice base to many soups, etc. Both recipes can be made in bulk and frozen in user-friendly sizes for future use – might as well do all the work once, right?
SWEET POTATO-COCONUT MILK-CORIANDER SOUP
(makes 10 cups)
9 cups coarsely chopped sweet potatoes (about 4, depending on size)
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 tsp dried cumin
1 1/2 tsp dried coriander
1/3 tsp dried ginger
4 cups vegetable stock (or 2 1/4 if using canned coconut milk)
1 tsp salt
1 packet dried coconut milk (or one 14 oz can)
few twists of pepper
The VERY easy way to make this soup is to throw everything together in your stock pot. If you’re willing to do a LITTLE more work, heat the olive oil in the stock pot, then saute the onions for about 4 of 5 minutes. Towards the end of this time add in the cumin, coriander, ginger, salt, and pepper – continue the sauteing. This brings out the flavors of the spices. Then add in the coconut milk and vegetable stock.
For both the easy and the little-bit-more-work method, bring to a boil, turn burner down to where the soup continues to simmer, cover, and cook until the sweet potatoes are very soft – about 30-45 minutes. Remove the lid and let cool down. Puree the soup in your blender – you might have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your blender. If necessary, season to taste.
2 large Russet potatoes, unpeeled & quartered
2 large carrots, unpeeled & sliced into 1 1/2″ pieces (you can leave on the tops)
1 large onion, peeled & quartered
1 large celery stalk, sliced into 1 1/2″ pieces
1 apple, slice away the core
1 bay leaf
10 cups water
I always double this recipe because I use vegetable stock so often. Then I freeze it in 1 cup, 1/2 cup, and sometimes 1 1/2 cup amounts. Recipes generally require increments of these amounts.
Throw everything into a large stock pot – my favorite kind of recipe! Bring to a full boil, cover with the lid askew a tiny bit to allow for steam to escape, turn down the burner so it continues a slow boil for 45 minutes. Remove lid and let cool. PLACE A STRAINER OVER A CONTAINER then pour your stock into it to strain out the vegetables. I capped that part because I’ve put my strainer in the sink (like I do with pasta) then poured in the stock. The vegetables strained into the strainer like they should….the stock ran down the sink.
What to do with the mushy veggies is up to you. Mine go in a compost bin. I wish I could think of a way to reuse them in cooking. If any of you have an idea – let me know.