Saturday, April 3, 2010

Jamie's Soup

While his TV show is airing, I have decided to try to support Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution by making one of his recipes once a week. I did a review of his cookbook Jamie's Food Revolution, which I still strongly recommend. It is perfect for beginning cooks, since he helps explain things that I couldn't get a clear lesson on, like how to poach an egg. These things may seem simple, but tricks like that are always helpful.

I have already signed his petition, since I believe that the way many Americans eat is very unhealthy. Once I stopped eating gluten and dairy, I became even more aware of how many foods available to us are truly superfluous to any diet. As a child, my parents took me all over the world and exposed me to many different people and exotic dishes. One thing I learned is that the only places that had processed junk food were American chains. And they were mostly full of Americans.

When I was seventeen, I went to a house party with a Canadian friend, and someone brought a fresh box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I had one, and so did she. After she took a bite, she said, "Americans make the best junk food." Some people around us thought this was a compliment, but I thought it was one of the saddest things I'd ever heard.

Three years ago, I flew down to Australia for the wedding of one my close friends I've known since I was twelve. His younger brother had just come back from a six month trip to Canada and the U.S., and I had to laugh whenever I heard him explaining to their parents the details of the food he ate during his trip. Hearing him try to describe exactly what Cool Whip is was one of the saddest things I'd heard. There is no real way to describe it beyond "a frozen whipped topping" because neither he or I knew one ingredient in it.

This is why I believe in what Jamie Oliver is trying to do. Most of us believe that people need to change the things they eat, but no one really knows how. His concept is to learn his recipes and, more importantly, pass them on. Here is a recipe I have learned that I will now share with you.

I am not a big fan of soup, but the sound of his Sweet Potato and Chorizo Soup was too good to pass up. He suggests using butternut squash if you can't obtain yams or sweet potatoes. I recommend that if you can't find chorizo, try your local meat counter. The Whole Foods I shop at didn't have chorizo links available, but when I asked the butcher, he told me that he could easily take some ground pork and add the spices to it. When in doubt, always ask.

After I started making this, I realized that I didn't have any curry powder. So I added 1 teaspoon of garam masala and three curry leaves to have the same effect. Once the soup is almost ready, his instructions are to use an immersion blender in the soup, but alas, I do not have one. So my instructions are for what I do have, a food processor. In hindsight, I suggest not blending the ingredients too much, since having some crunch or pieces to chew on adds interest to the soup.Since I am not trying to steal his recipes but pass them on, I will give you my altered version.

Sweet Potato and Chorizo Soup
2 Carrots
2 Celery Stalks
2 medium Onions
2 cloves Garlic
1 3/4 lb. Sweet Potatoes
10 oz. Chorizo 
small bunch Parsley or Cilantro
1 3/4 qts. Gluten Free Chicken or Vegetable Broth
Olive Oil
1 tsp. Garam Masala
3 Curry Leaves
Salt and Pepper
1 Fresno Pepper

First, prepare your vegetables. Peel and chop the onions, garlic, and sweet potatoes. Roughly chop the carrots, celery, and chorizo. Finely chop the parsley leaves and stalks. If you want to add the Fresno pepper, de-seed (optional) and finely chop, then set it aside. 

Put a large saucepan on high heat, then add 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Add all of the chopped vegetables and chorizo, along with the garam masala and curry leaves. Stir everything together with a trusted wooden spoon. With the lid askew, let cook for about ten minutes, or until the carrots have softened but still have their shape and the onions pieces are a light golden color. While that is cooking, place the chicken or vegetable broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the ten minutes are up, add the broth to the vegetables. 

Stir the soup well and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let sit for ten minutes, or until the sweet potato is fully cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir well. Pour about one fourth of the soup into a food processor and gently pulse until mixed. Place into the medium saucepan used earlier and continue until all of the soup is blended, then stir together in the saucepan. 

To serve, simply ladle portions into bowls. I suggest topping it with some of my Cream Tofu or silken tofu pureed in a food processor. If you can handle the heat, top it with the chopped fresno pepper. If you need more crunch or chewy-ness, get an extra chorizo sausage, dice it into small pieces, and sprinkle it on top. I toasted a piece of gluten free bread and chopped it up into croutons and sprinkled the cream tofu over it. This dish serves 6-8 people, so if you are serving it for a meal, I suggest having small bowls of croutons, cream tofu, and the diced fresno pepper so that people can add more of what they like. Enjoy.

1 comment:

Spice's Lively Mother said...

I don't like soups either. However, this one is different! It's very good, and I enjoyed it very much. Follow Spice's advice to leave some "crunch" in -- such as chunks of chorizo. The texture makes for more interesting eating in my view.