Sunday, August 25, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Jamaican Veggie Soup

want something to transport yourself to the caribbean in these dying summer days?  whip up this jamaican veggie soup, throw some jerk chicken legs/wings on the grill, crank up the reggae, sip an ice cold beer or margarita, and kick your feet up to the end of the summer sun. 

i used molokhia in this soup.  it is a green leafy veggie you won't easily find it in your grocery store, unless you live in egypt (try asian or middle eastern grocery stores).  we are growing it in our garden, and had no idea what to do with it.  most recipes i found used it in soups and stews and that made sense considering its slimy, okra-like texture.  this is a really good soup.  hearty and flavorful.  don't worry if you can't find molokhia.  just replace it with spinach.  it won't have the slimy texture, but my guess is that here in the USofA, that's probably ok to most palettes.  give it try, mon.

ingredients (serves 4 as a side or starter dish.  mindy and i like to eat, so the two of us wiped this out w/ less than a serving leftover)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion
1 celery stalk
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch dried oregano
2 cups of chopped zucchini
1 1/2 cans of chicken stock
hot peppers or dried cayenne to taste
1 cup chopped molokhia (or fresh spinach)
6 or 7 cilantro sprigs

heat oil in a sauce pan.  add onion, celery, garlic and ginger.  sauté until onions are translucent and garlic is beginning to brown.  add in the spices and infuse all that trinity and oil and ginger for about a minute (stirring profusely to keep anything from burning).  add in the zuccs, potatoes, and chicken stock (use veggie stock if you want to go full vegan on this shit).  bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover.  cook for at least 10 minutes, until potatoes are soft.  you can simmer it longer if you want, but at least get the veggies soft.  then remove the soup from the heat and add in the molokhia and the cayenne pepper.  serve with a squeeze of lemon and top with fresh cilantro leaves.

suggestions:  chop up all your veggies pretty small so they are like tiny morsels of goodness in the flavorful broth.  if you want a thick creamy soup, hit it with an immersion blender.  the molokai can be easily replaced by fresh spinach.  we use molokhia because we are growing it in our garden and needed to use it for something.  it gives broth soups a thicker, slimier texture, like okra, but tastes actually similar to spinach, but more bitter.  serve it with some jerk chicken wings, put on some reggae and watch the sun set into whatever puddle you're near.

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