2.10.10 Liquid Love
Some people, it seems, just can't slurp down enough soup these days. It really is the perfect thing for cold weather, a warming bowl of comforting goodness. Below, you'll find recipes for four, count 'em, low-fat and nutritious soups you can whip up without any bother whatsoever. That's all this post is about: soup. Get it while it's hot.
I make a spicy sweet potato/yam soup with an African bent, that has peanut butter and shredded chicken stirred in, but this one is a bit more simple. It's still rich, but the ginger and orange flavors add a welcome brightness.ZESTY YAM SOUPserves 4-62 pounds garnet yams, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces1 tablespoon maple syrup4 tablespoons olive oil2 large leeks, chopped (white and pale green parts only)1 1/3 cups finely chopped celery5 cups (or more) chicken stock3/4 cup orange juice2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger2 teaspoons orange zestPreheat oven to 400 degrees.Toss cubed sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil and maple syrup and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Roast until very tender and starting to brown, stirring occasionally, 30-45 minutes.Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks and celery and sautee until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add roasted sweet potatoes and sautee for a few minutes. Add chicken stock and orange juice and bring mixture to a boil. Stir in ginger and orange zest. Reduce heat and simmer until everything is very tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.Working in batches, puree in food processor or blender, returning soup to pot. Thin with more broth, as necessary. Season to taste with salt.This smooth lentil soup is full of warming spices. Madras curry powder is a spice mixture favored in the southern Indian state of the same name. It is nicely balanced between hot and mellow, and most often consists of a blend of curry leaves, turmeric, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, chile pepper, bay leaves, fenugreek, allspice and black pepper. CURRIED LENTIL AND SPINACH SOUPserves 41 tablespoon olive oil1 cup chopped onion1/2 cup chopped celery1/2 cup chopped carrots1 garlic clove, minced1 1/2 teaspoons Madras-style curry powder1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger1/2 teaspoon ground cumin1 bay leaf1/8 teaspoon cayenne5 cups (or more) water8 ounces dried lentils (about 1 1/4 cups)1 6-ounce bag baby spinach leaves1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantroHeat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, carrots and garlic and sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in curry, ginger, cumin, bay leaf and cayenne. Add water and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until lentils are tender, thinning with more water as necessary, about 25 minutes. Add spinach and cilantro and simmer another 5 minutes. Salt to taste. Serve topped with a spoonful of yogurt.Evan Kleiman has been a longtime presence on the Los Angeles food scene, and hosts the radio show “Good Food” heard on NPR. She founded the original Slow Food chapter in LA and ran it for 8 years, is a best-selling cookbook author and owns Angeli Caffe, a popular Melrose Avenue restaurant that serves simple rustic food.SPINACH & MINT SOUPadapted from Evan Kleimanserves 4 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided1 1/2 cups chopped onion1 ½ cups cooked rice2 large garlic cloves, peeled4 1/2 cups (or more) chicken broth3 scallions, chopped2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained very well1 cup chopped fresh mint, divided1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantropumpkin seed oil, or fruity extra-virgin olive oilHeat 1/4 cup oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add rice and garlic and sauté 5 minutes. Add 4 1/2 cups broth and scallions and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer another 15 minutes. Add spinach, 3/4 cup mint, and cilantro and simmer for another couple of minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.Puree in food processor or blender in batches, returning soup to same pot. Thin with more broth by 1/4 cupfuls, as desired. Salt to taste. Serve warm, drizzled with pumpkin seed or olive oil and garnished with fresh mint.This soup is a simple version of a classic Roman dish. It cooks very quickly and has a light flavor but is full of nutrition.FISH SOUP WITH PASTA AND BROCCOLIserves 4 4 cups chicken broth2 cups water1 pound skinless flounder filet (halved crosswise if large)1 garlic clove, minced1 cup small shell pasta (5 ounces, use gluten-free if desired)2 cups small broccoli florets1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or to tasteSimmer broth and water with fish and garlic in a heavy 4-quart pot. Add pasta and simmer until al dente, about 5 minutes (fish will break apart). Add broccoli and simmer until pasta and broccoli are tender, another 2-3 minutes.Stir in lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve soup drizzled with oil.