The winter chills are definitely here in Sydney at the moment, and in this sort of weather I enjoy a bowl of soup to warm me from the inside.
The flavours of this soup are inspired by Mexican influences, but I don’t claim that this is authentically Mexican. A lot of the “Mexican” we are familiar with in Australia like nachos is actually Tex-Mex, American with Mexican influences that originated from the southern states of the US. You could use a Mexican chilli like a jalapeño in the soup or as a garnish.
How to Roast Capsicums
Red capsicums give the best flavour after roasting, you can roast green, yellow or orange capsicums but I prefer the flavour of the red capsicums.
Place your red capsicums on a baking tray and place into a 200°C oven. Cook until the skins blacken and blister. Once the skins are blackened, remove the capsicums from the oven and place in a heat-proof bowl, cover with plastic-wrap and allow to cool [this allows the capsicums to sweat and makes the skin easier to peel off]. When the capsicums are cool enough to handle, peel off the skin, and discard the stalk, inside core and seeds. Reserve any liquid that may be inside – I tend to do this separation procedure over a sieve to capture the liquid without any seeds otherwise I find I am there all day fishing out seeds.
Spicy Bean Soup
- 1 litre of tomato based vegetable juice
- 2 red capsicums, roasted, skins and seeds removed
- 2 x 400g tins of red kidney beans
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 1 stick of celery, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 3 chillies [or more, to taste]
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Sour cream, to serve
- Chopped parsley or coriander, to serve
- Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and celery and cook until the onion is soft.
- Add the ground cumin & coriander, oregano, paprika, garlic and chillies and cook for a minute or two. Remove from the heat.
- Drain one tin of kidney beans, rinse and put the beans into a blender jug. Add the roast capsicums and any capsicum juice you may have to the blender. Add the onion spice mix to the blender and approximately half of the juice. Blend until smooth.
- Transfer the blended liquid back to the pan, add the remaining juice and bay leaves.
- Drain the remaining tin of kidney beans, rinse and add to the pan.
- Heat the soup until bubbling, stirring occasionally to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
- Add the lime juice, give everything a final stir and remove from the heat. Remove the bay leaves.
- Serve the soup with a dollop of sour cream and some chopped parsley or coriander. Enjoy.
What recipes do you like to cook to help keep you warm in the colder weather? Has this post inspired any new ideas?
As the temperature starts to drop, and [thanks to the end of daylight savings] as most of us are getting home from work in the dark, a comforting soup is the perfect midweek dinner [great to have on standby].
I tend to make a big batch of my Thai Curried Pumpkin Soup on a lazy Sunday afternoon, and freeze into individual portions so that I have some on standby for a quick mid-week dinner when I don’t have the energy to cook something from scratch.
Even though this recipe is called pumpkin soup, I prefer to use butternut squash – it lends a sweeter, nutty flavour and I find it easier to peel and chop than pumpkin. The red lentils add protein, fibre and some extra bulk to the soup that transforms this recipe from a snack to a meal. No need to add extra salt because the stock contains plenty to season the soup.
© image not to be used without permission
Thai Curried Pumpkin Soup
- 1 tablespoon oil [whatever you have on hand – olive oil, vegetable oil etc]
- 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste [any good store-bought curry paste you like]
- 1 large onion
- 1 or 2 chillies [optional]
- 1/2 a butternut squash or approximately 750g of pumpkin
- 1 celery stick
- 2 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 cup of red lentils
- 1 x 400ml can coconut cream [or coconut milk if you are watching your fat intake – shake can before using because solids may have separated out]
- 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes in juice
- 1 tablespoon vegetable stock powder [I use Vegeta brand, or if you have homemade stock, use this instead and discard the need to add water]
- Water to cover
- 1 bunch of coriander [including roots, if you can find it]
- Peel and chop the butternut squash into cubes, discarding the seeds and skin.
- Finely chop the celery stick, coriander stalks and root [reserve coriander leaves for garnishing]
- Finely chop the onion, and chillies if using
- Heat oil in large pot over medium heat, add onion, chillies and curry paste. Cook until onion softens, stirring occasionally.
- Add the celery, chopped coriander stalks and root, chopped butternut squash, tinned tomatoes, lentils, kaffir lime leaves, coconut cream and vegetable stock. Add water to cover the ingredients – I fill up the empty cans when doing this to get the last of the coconut cream / tomatoes out and into the soup. Place lid on the pot and turn up heat until pot comes to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until lentils and pumpkin are soft and cooked, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing catches and burns on the bottom of the pan.
- Remove kaffir lime leaves and discard.
- Blend soup with stick mixer until smooth. [Or transfer in small batches to a blender – be careful doing this in a blender because the hot liquid will release steam, build up pressure and may cause the lid to come off, covering you and your kitchen with hot soup. Don’t overfill the blender, release the centre of the blender lid to allow steam to escape and hold lid on with a tea towel while processing to avoid ending up with a mess and / or burns.]
- Soup can be eaten straight away with a sprinkle of coriander leaves on top, or cooled and reheated later. Also freezes well – freeze in 1 portion size containers of about 500mls. This is delicious served with warmed garlic naan bread alongside [not very authentically Thai but tasty all the same].
What are your favourite recipes to fight off the cooler weather? Has this post inspired any new ideas?