Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Birthday Soup by Request

Another thrilling thing happened around my birthday:  a Twitter follower of Dave's asked for the recipe for the soup I mentioned improvising.

Remember this?
I was quite flattered.  I'm new to creating dishes, let alone being asked for the recipe. What a lovely birthday gift.  Thank you, Jay, wherever you are!

Of course, the problem is that there is no recipe.  I was simply using what we had on hand without measuring or following instructions.  It's a personal victory for me, but one that makes it harder to share the formula when asked.  I just had to do the same thing for chicken salad yesterday. 

I get it now that soup can be made from anything, as one chef wrote, making it literally the soup du jour.  If the jour at your house holds different supplies, feel frightfully free to experiment.  You may end up with your own unique creation.  And what a gift that will be to you and yours.

Without further ado, here's my best recollection.  May it bless other bellies!

Sweet Potato, Ham, and Quinoa Soup

Serves: 3-4

2 1/2 ounces diced ham
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
1 quart chicken broth
1 large sweet potato, diced
1/3 cup red quinoa
Water, up to 2 cups
Stems from 1 bunch cilantro, tied together with kitchen twine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro pesto*
Cornbread croutons**

In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the diced ham until lightly browned.  Add the onion and cook until transparent.  Add the chicken broth, sweet potato, quinoa, cilantro stems, and enough water to cover the vegetables.  Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the quinoa and sweet potato are done.  Remove cilantro stems and discard. Add chopped cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle soup into warmed bowls and garnish with a dollop of cilantro pesto and a handful of cornbread croutons.

*Cilantro Pesto, adapted from Simply Recipes

 1 cup cilantro leaves, packed, large stems removed
 1/4 cup natural almonds
 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
 2 tablespoons olive oil

 In a food processor, pulse the cilantro leaves, almonds, onion, and salt until well blended.
 With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream. 

 Add more oil as needed for your use.

 Makes about 1/2 cup.

Whatever you don't use can be frozen in an ice cube tray.  Lining it with plastic wrap makes it easier to remove the pesto cubes.   (Now, I read that.)

**Cornbread Croutons (from me!)

 Leftover cornbread
 Melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the cornbread into cubes of a size that suits your purpose.  Brush with melted butter and bake until golden brown, flipping once. 


Dave_Flora said...

Can I just say it again?
Cornbread. Croutons.

Jay Potts said...

Thank you so much. This sounds absolutely delicious!! Being Southerners (or a defacto Southerner in my case), the wife and I are beig fans of cornbread, but we'd never considered making croutons from the leftover cornbread. You just planned our Sunday night meal, plus you added something new into our regular recipe rotation.

HipHome said...

That looks delicious! I am an avid soup fan.

Ann said...

Dave--I know, I know. You liked the croutons and the cornbread. Thanks, honey!

Jay--I hope it's as good for you as it was for us. Enjoy!

HipHome--I'm a soup fan now, too. Especially now that I know how to make up my own. It's frugal and fun.