Sunday, 18 October 2009

Cleaning out the fridge soup

This soup is a great example of using stuff lying around... I had half a pumpkin left, and had cooked up a big batch of black beans a few days ago for hummous... and I've had a houseguest, so have made more almond and soy milk than usual, and had pulp from that taking up fridge space.. you know how it is. Because this soup just relies on baking everthing, it doesn't take much actual work. I was at home working, and this took about 15 minutes, total, of my time, though it baked for about an hour while I typed and swore. Feel free to apply this method (omitting the typing and swearing, if you wish) to what's in your fridge rather than focusing on what was in mine. The basic flavours (with what I used in parentheses) are:

something dark and smoky (black beans, smoked peppers)
something sweet and dense (pumpkin, baked onions)
something acidic (tomatoes, lemon juice)
something rich (nut butter, almond meal, hummous)

What I did:

I put all this in a roasting pan:

1/2 squash with edible skin, cubed
1 onion, cut in chunks
5 whole cloves of garlic
12 small tomatoes, halved

I poured enough water to the baking dish to come halfway up the tomatoes, and popped it all in the oven, uncovered, at 220C for about an hour. Once it got going, I did the beans.

I had cooked black beans on hand. About 3 cups of them. I put them in a large pot, covered them with water, and added
3 tbs fresh grated ginger
2 tbs roasted cumin
2 tbs roasted coriander
some fresh thyme (because it was there, dammit)
1 tbs chunky peanut butter
some left over almond meal from making almond milk (1/2 cup or so)
some leftover hummous (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
a healthy number of chopped chipotle peppers
lemon juice ( I'm out of lime, which would have been my first choice)

I simmered that until the pb dissolved, and then just turned it off and let it sit there until the roasted veg were done, then combined the two things. I almost threw in some cocoa as well, but oddly enough, I didn't feel chocolatey. This is rare, but it does happen from time to time. I'll probably add a few tablespoons of cocoa nibs to the leftovers when I take them for lunch.

We had this with baked corn tortillas, olives, salad, and ginger beer!

Just to get you on your improvisational way, here are some possible subs for the different taste categories. Don't use them all at once (except the spices. They all go together if you want. Use one, two or all of them), and not all combos will work, but play around a little... pick one or two things from each category and go for it! say 1) blackeyed beans, plantain, mangoes, lime and coconut, or 2) lentils, mushrooms, stout, parsnips, tomato paste and chocolate....:

something dark and smoky, including a legume (puy or beluga lentils, blackeyed beans, shiitake mushrooms, smoked paprika, porter, stout or rauchbier, dry-roasted spices in general)
something sweet and dense, when baked (carrots, parsnips, leeks, beets, apples, any winter squash, corn, red peppers, plantain)
something acidic (mangoes, tomato paste, unripe peaches, tamarind, lime juice, cider vinegar)
something rich (tahini, soy/oat cream, coconut or coconut milk, cocoa powder or grated chocolate, leftover hummous or tofu spread)
spices: cumin, coriander, oregano, black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cayenne, jalopenos, chipotle or other smoked chili, sweet chilies, garlic.

You could also add a whack of chopped cilantro or parsley to liven this up... but I didn't have any. Chopped kale or spinach would also be lovely, and add some green. The point of cleaning out the fridge soup is that you *don't* run out to the store for random ingredients. Use what you have on hand.

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