Gold Coin Soup

With a soft spot for naturally sweet foods, the counter-top usually holds a variety of squash and sweet potato at any time of year. More occasionally, since they aren’t anywhere near local, a plantain shows up and invariably it ends up ins some version of this soup. The slices of plantain remind me of coins floating in the thin broth: I feel rich eating it and the sweetness brings a smile to my face.

The recipe is very forgiving, so feel free to swap vegetables out or try the variations. The simplest iteration which you find here calls for just boiling all the ingredients together – not fancy but quite fast and functional. If you’re serving friends, then get fancy and fabulous and start by sautéing the diced onions, carrots and celery (mirepois) in some coconut oil before adding the stock. Also feel free to scale up the amounts depending on the number of diners you plan to serve.

Yield: 2 as a main, 4 as a starter or side

What you need:

  • 1 small onion, small dice
  • 1 medium carrot, small dice, about 1 cup chopped
  • 1 large stalk celery, small dice
  • 1 ripe plantain, peeled and sliced cross-wise, 1/8” to 1/4” slice depending on how chunky a look you want, about 2 cups
  • 3 cups unsalted vegetable stock or broth
  • 1-1/2 cups green peas (defrosted frozen is fine)
  • salt
  • Berberé, Cajun spice or Jamaican-style curry powder, to personal taste (optional)
  • 1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped, to serve

What you do :

  1. Bring the onion, carrot, celery and vegetable broth to a simmer. Simmer, covered, for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the sliced plantain, dust with the spice powder of choice, if using, and add salt to desired level. Simmer until the plantain is bright yellow but not quite cooked through, another 5-10 minutes depending on how thickly it was sliced.
  3. Add the peas and simmer until they’re bright green (not like the picture – those ones are a bit overdone!)
  4. Serve, sprinkled with 2 tablespoons of chopped roasted peanuts if serving as a main dish – or just 1 tablespoon if it’s a side or starter.

Variations:

  • As suggested in the intro, for a more decadent soup, sauté the carrot, onion and celery in the soup pot until soft and translucent using a generous amount of coconut oil. Add the spices (perhaps some garlic) and sauté another minute or two before adding the stock;
  • Replace 1 cup of the vegetable stock with crushed tomato or tomato juice;
  • Replace 1/2 cup of the vegetable stock with coconut milk;
  • Add a clove or three of crushed garlic to the soup at the same time as the carrot, onion and celery (after you’ve sautéed them if you’ll be doing that);
  • Whisk 1/4 cup of the broth and 2 tablespoons of natural, unsweetened peanut butter in a small cup and pour the mixture back into the hot soup at the end. Let the flavours meld 10 minutes or so before serving;
  • For a more substantial meal and a nice colour contrast, stir in some cooked red kidney beans along with the plantain.

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