Did you have a wonderful Thanksgiving feast with family and friends? We did, celebrating twice – Thursday with family and Friday cooking our own gluten-free Thanksgiving for friends so that I could eat everything on the table, and enjoy the best part – leftovers. I’m looking forward to turkey sandwiches, and turkey and wild rice soup, and scouring the web for interesting recipes to use up the last bits of turkey when I’ve tired of eating it. In the meantime, here’s a Thai take on autumnal food…
Sunday mornings are my favorite time in the whole week. The morning starts early, but slowly with a long, leisurely dog walk along the beach in our neighborhood. I know Turbo savors Sunday mornings as much as I do – he can stop and sniff whatever he likes, and lay down on the beach to catch a few weak rays of late Fall sunshine while I rub his belly. The walk gives me time to wake up gently and to consider the week’s menu plan.
Sometimes, though, the mind wanders in too many directions, and I return from our walk with no clearer sense of the week’s menu. Then I just have to get in the kitchen and CREATE, and see what goes into the pot and comes out as dinner. This week was one of those. As I was grabbing bits and bobs of veggies lingering in the crisper, my hands were on autopilot as I chopped. I was definitely making soup, and had everything set to make a pretty basic vegetable and wild rice soup, but the thought of it didn’t make me think YUM! about the week of lunches ahead.
One more look in the fridge, and my eye caught a half can of coconut milk and a container of leftover pumpkin puree from the latest batch of these bars and I instantly had a new plan. I ditched the traditional recipe, and took a spin on the Thai side! I love moments like these in the kitchen, where a second look into the fridge changes the entire plan.
This soup is healthy and hearty with all the veggies, wild rice and the red curry, mustard and ginger leave your belly happy and warm. The pumpkin puree disappears into the soup, its flavor invisible, creating a velvety texture far creamier than the scant half-can of coconut milk stirred into the pot in the final moments of cooking. Don’t feel wedded to my list of ingredients below, either – use whatever veggies you have on hand, brown rice instead of wild would work fine, too. Sometimes, life, like soup, is best served improvised.
What’s your favorite kind of soup? Share your soup-making tips and tricks in the comments below…
Thai Red Curry Pumpkin Vegetable Soup
2 T coconut oil
1 T brown mustard seeds
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled & chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 T fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1-2 T red curry paste, to taste (I use Thai Kitchen brand)
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 -2 T fish sauce, to taste
3 cups shredded green cabbage (1/4 head of cabbage)
1 1/2 cups leftover shredded roast chicken or turkey (optional)
1/2 can coconut milk
2 cups cooked wild rice
juice of one lime
cilantro leaves for garnish
- Heat a large soup pot over medium heat and add the coconut oil. When the oil is hot and shimmery, add the mustard seeds and stir them around a bit until their fragrance meets your nose. Add the chopped onion, celery, carrots and bell pepper and saute for 5-6 minutes, until the onions are translucent and beginning to soften. Add the garlic, ginger and curry paste and stir for another minute or so.
- Add the chicken stock, water and pumpkin puree and cover. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer uncovered until the carrots are no longer crunchy, but not yet mushy – about 20 minutes. Add the chicken and shredded cabbage to the pot and stir. Cook for another 10 minutes to soften the cabbage. Pour in the 1/2 can of coconut milk and and add 1-2T fish sauce to season to your taste. Squeeze the juice of one lime into the pot and stir. Taste, and if the balance of heat/salt/tart seems a bit off – add a dab more fish sauce, curry paste or lime juice. Serve each bowl with a small scoop of warm wild rice and a few cilantro leaves.