Soupy Reds and Leafy Greens

As I mentioned before, the time of the year for soup and other warming foods has arrived, and I think most of us will agree, MUCH too quickly for our liking. Since the beginning of October I have made 3 soups/stews for Frank and I to eat. As I was looking back over everything, I noticed that they were all red, vibrant soups, and quite tasty as well. So today, I present a pictoral view of our three red soups. And as a bonus for feeling guilty about not blogging over our trip, I will give you a full recipe for one of the soups, and the recipe for the accompanying greens that I made. Man, I sound like a horrible infomercial...

First up was the Smoky Red Beans and Peppers Gumbo from Veganomicon. A hearty, rich blend of kidney beans, roasted red peppers, liquid smoke, spices, and okra, this was a definite winner for both Frank and myself. Frank took on the task of making this, and did so with great success. We had been talking about making okra for ages and never got around to doing so- with this recipe, we did! Bonus points for it being easy and simple, even with roasting your own red peppers, which Frank did. If you have never roasted your own peppers over a gas burner on your stove, I highly recommend it. Simply place the pepper down on the burner and turn occasionally with tongs. Much easier and less work than clearing out your oven for the job.

Last nite we ventured into the land of chili, making Vintage Vegan Potter's latest MoFo post. We left out the TVP since it was not on hand and lessened the amount of chili powder because I have an insanely hot version from Patel Brothers, but all in all, a decent success! I also tried to get a worthy picture of it, since she was not able to. This was served with the first recipe that I am going to dish up for you all, and I will call it:

Spicy Mustard-Dressed Greens

1/4 - 1/3 c. cubed daikon radish (oooh! another recipe!)
1/2 inch length of fresh ginger, minced
1 large jalapeno, diced finely
1 green Italian pepper, diced finely
13 brussel sprouts, sliced into coin-shaped pieces
8 leaves swiss chard, torn
1/2 c. water

For the sauce:
3 Tbsp mustard (I used 2 yellow and 1 dijon)
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 c. water


In a medium skillet over medium heat, steam saute daikon and peppers until beginning to soften. Add greens and cover with lid, cooking until greens begin to wilt, about 5 minutes. Uncover and add in 1/2 cup of water, scraping up any browned or stuck bits. Cook for another 5 - 7 minutes. Your done-ness indicator will be the tenderness of your brussel sprouts.

While the greens are cooking, prepare mustard sauce. When the greens are done, stir in mustard sauce to coat and warm through. Remove from heat immediately and serve. The whole meal should look like this:


Before we left for Minneapolis (pictoral follow up to come tomorrow, when I have time!), I threw together a soup to have waiting for us when we came back. I simply took some root vegetables (beets, carrots, potatoes) from the CSA and put them together with panch phoran, which I am always looking to use more in cooking. The result was a silky, hearty soup with a slight hint of exotic spice. I blended half and left half in chunks for texture, but you could also blend the entire pot. Here is the recipe:

Spiced Root Vegetable Soup
1 leek, washed, trimmed, and cut
2 Tbsp panch phoran
1-2 tsp ground ginger (to taste)
2 Tbsp olive oil
8 cups water
1 pound beets, cut into a small dice
5 - 6 large carrots, cut into a small dice
1.5 pounds new potatoes, cut into a small dice
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp tamari
2 15.5 oz cans chickpeas, optional


Bring a medium sauce pan with water to boil. When water is boiling add in beets and cook until tender, about 30-35 minutes. Drain when finished and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large stockpot, heat oil and panch phoran, cooking until spice is fragrant and toasted. Add leeks, and cook for another 5 - 7 minutes. When leeks are soft, add in remaining ingredients through tamari. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.

Let soup mixture cool a bit before blending. You can either mix all of the vegetables together to blend, or reserve some of the soup vegetables. (I mixed in some beets to the soup while taking out some of the carrots, potatoes, and leeks. So in the end, I had a chunky mixture of beets, carrots, potatoes, and leeks. All of these were stirred in after blending). Place the soup you would like to blend into the blender, and process until smooth and silky. When finished blending, put back in pot, stir in remaining vegetables, and add in chickpeas, if desired. Taste for spices and enjoy!

This is best served with garlic pita bread or polenta sticks. Yum!


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