Day 63: “New World Kitchen”
March 4, 2011
While winter continues to hold its icy claw grip on us and I just can’t break away from comfort foods. At least I am trying to make healthy comfort foods. When I found this recipe it had all the makings of a low-fat comfort food……except for the bacon. Soup is a meal that I think I could every day. I have a favorite spot that I like to go for lunch that makes some of the best homemade soups in my town. When I made this soup, my oldest son said that we should make sure we give this recipe to them so that they can make it.
What “The New World Kitchen” offers a culinary tour through many Caribbean and Latin American countries. A visit to Chile and you will find sea bass with creamy ragu of tomatoes, basil, potatoes and onions. Stop off in Peru for potatoes in Creamy Cheese Sauce (papas a la huancaina). The soup I made was from the Pan-Caribbean region. The author is a famed chef from Florida named Norman Van Aken who owns the restaurant Normans in Miami. The cookbook features photos from an award-winning food photographer which is only fitting of the inspiring dishes. Feeling a bit like traveling around to some warmer weather cooking, make a stop with this cookbook.
The Ruling: The soup was great…..but I must admit I had to substitute a lot of things in order to avoid another trip to the store. For example I didn’t have a calabaza squash so I used an acorn squash I had. If I was to make this again, I would use a butternut squash as it is much easier to peel then the crevices of the acorn squash. We inhaled the soup so fast that I didn’t even get to take a picture of it. Of course the oldest child, husband and myself ate it. Middle child was out with friends but I would bet that he would have tried it. The crema on top was a nice fresh addition. Youngest child just turned his nose up at it after having a spoon full of it.
Black Bean Soup With Roasted Squash, page 62
- 6 ounces smoky bacon, diced
- 2 tablespoons pure olive oil
- 1 Scotch bonnet chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 large Spanish onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 2 tablespoons toasted and ground cummin seeds
- 2 bay leaves, broken in half
- 1 cup Spanish dry sherry
- 2 cups black beans, rinsed, soaked overnight in water to cover, and drained
- 1 some ham hock
- 3 quarts chicken stock
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the Calabaza:
- 2 pounds calabaza, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-sized pieces (you can substitute acorn or another winter squash)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Crema:
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted and ground coriander seeds
- To prepare the beans, cook the bacon in the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat until beginning to crisp. Stir in the Scotch bonnet and garlic. Turn up the heat to medium-high, add the onion, bell pepper, and celery, and stir to coat. Let the vegetables caramelize, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
- Add the cumin, bay leaves, and sherry, bring to a simmer, and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the beans, ham hock, and stock and bring to a simmer. SKim the impurities off the top, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the beans are tender but not mushy, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- In the meantime, prepare the calabaza: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the calabaza, butter, sugar, salt, and pepper in a toasting pan or heavy ovenproof skillet and give them a toss. Rost for 30 to 40 minutes, until the squash is tender when poked with a knife. Set aside in a warm place.
- For the crema: Whisk together all the ingredients in a bowl. Chill until ready to serve.
- Remove the bay leaves from the beans. Scoop 2 1/2 cups of the beans and their broth into a blender, and puree. Pour back into the pot – this will give the soup more body – stir well, and simmer for another 30 minutes.
- Season the soup with salt and pepper. Fold in the calabaza and cook for 5 more minutes
- Ladle the soup into bowls and finish with a spoonful of crema in each.
To Joyful, Simplified Living,
MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity. She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at www.ididit-fargo.com . Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at email@example.com. For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page here.
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