31 March 2012

roasted root vegetable & coconut milk soup w/ fried sage

Whenever I cook with coconut milk, it seems like I always have a little bit left over.  Not being the biggest coconut fan, I typically only bust it out for Thai recipes or coconut shrimp.  Occasionally I'll use some to make Almond Joy Pancakes or oatmeal, but I usually end up throwing it out.

But today was different!  I thought to myself, "Self, you may not have fish oil or cilantro, but you can do something with this!  Just use what you have lying around....and make soup!"  Go self.

I am a huge, HUGE advocate for leftovers soup.  What is leftovers soup?  It's your left overs...with chicken, vegetable or beef broth.  Take whatever superfluous food items you have in your refrigerator, add a mirepoix, a few seasonings and boom, soup.  For example, I obviously had leftover coconut milk (duh).  I also had parsnips, rutabagas, onions and fresh sage.  Why not mix them all together and see how it goes?

If you haven't tried simply roasted parsnips & rutabagas, I highly recommend you give them a whirl.  They get nice and sweet when cooked, and the roasting adds great depth to their flavor.  It plays off the sweetness of the coconut milk for a lovely, creamy, subtle coconut flavor.

Roasted Root Vegetable & Coconut Milk Soup with Fried Sage (4 servings)

  • 2 medium parsnips
  • 2 medium rutabagas
  • 1/4 c onion
  • 1 tbs chopped & 8 leaves fresh sage
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 c light coconut milk
  • 2 c reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/6 tsp dried ginger
  • white pepper & salt to taste
  • parmesan cheese (if desired)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Peel and dice your parsnips & rutabagas into 1/2 inch cubes.  Spray baking sheet with non-stick (or drizzle vegetables with olive oil, if you prefer).  Roast veggies in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until they are browning and tender when poked with a fork.  

When your vegetables are ready, remove from the oven and set aside.  Heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a heavy-bottom pot or dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes until they start to brown.  Add your tablespoon of chopped sage and cook for another minute, until it starts to smell delicious.  Dump in your roasted veggies, dried ginger, salt and white pepper and stir to distribute seasonings.  Add the coconut milk and all but 1/3 cup of the chicken broth.  Bring to a boil, then reduce and let simmer for 20 minutes.  

When you have about 5 minutes left on your soup, place a small frying pan on medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot, add the remaining teaspoon of olive oil.  Give it 10 seconds to warm up and then swirl it around the frying pan.  Take the sage leaves and lay them individually in the frying pan.  Once they are all in the pan, immediately flip them over to the other side with tongs.  Then, immediate flip them again.  These suckers cook up pretty quickly!  When they begin to darken in color, remove the pan from heat.  Let the fried leaves sit while you pull out a paper towel.  Gently slide the leaves onto the paper towel to cool.  This also removes some of the extra oil.

By now, your soup timer should be pretty close to ringing.  If you have an immersion blender, puree your soup right in the pot.  If not, transfer the soup into your regular blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth, adding the reserved chicken broth until the desired consistency is reached.  Top with fried sage leaves and parmesan cheese, if desired.  

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