I’ve already admitted to being a library addict. I bet you never knew there was such a thing! I’ve even decided that if I get married someday I would love for it to be in the old wing of the Boston Public Library. If you’ve visited you’ll understand why. It’s tremendously beautiful and historic, not to mention has a great vibe. It also seems entirely out of my price range, but that is beside the point.
I love libraries so much that whenever I visit my parents I make sure to visit their library. I load up my arms with whatever cookbooks catch my fancy and head back to their house to leisurely sit on the couch and flip through the books searching for inspiration. It’s quite relaxing and I couldn’t recommend it more highly as a vacation activity. Last time I was home I happened upon a great cookbook that I’ve been eyeing for some time on Amazon, Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons. There were so many unique recipes that sucked me in. I added them to my recipe database where they have been waiting patiently ever since.
Now that I’ve been looking for creative ways to use up the last of my produce CSA share (It ended this week. A post on my thoughts on the whole experience to come.) it seemed like the perfect time to revisit these recipes. One in particular – Broccoli, Apple and Peanut Soup – immediately came to mind because not only did it sound unusual, it could be made entirely with what I had on hand. I made some adaptations based on my personal preferences and the result was spectacular. The flavors are very well balanced and a combination of peanut butter and red curry paste gives this a slight Thai flare. I especially liked that the apple taste wasn’t prominent, but played a background role giving a bit of sweetness without honey or sugar. It’s also worth noting that pulling out a second pot to steam the broccoli may seem like a pain, but it’s worth it as it makes sure the broccoli texture is perfect – neither too crisp or too soft. I like a soup with a thinner broth and lots of chunks so I only puree two cups of the soup, but you could easily do more if you like the stick-to-your-ribs thickness.
Adapted from Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons
-1 teaspoon olive oil
-2 large onions, peeled and chopped
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
-4 cups vegetable broth
-2 medium apples, peeled, cored and diced
-1 tablespoon red curry paste
-1/2 cup natural-style peanut butter
-6 cups broccoli, finely chopped
-Salt and freshly ground black pepper
-Chopped roasted peanuts, to garnish
Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium low heat. Add unions and saute until translucent. Add garlic and carrots and continue to saute until the unions are golden.
Add broth, apples, and curry paste. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat. Cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until apple and carrots are tender. Remove from heat.
Transfer 2 cups of the solid ingredients from the soup to a food processor. Process until smooth and add back into the dutch oven, stirring well to distribute. Add peanut butter to the soup, about half at a time, stirring until completely blended with the broth. Return to low heat.
Meanwhile, steam the broccoli in a sauce pan with about 1/4 cup water, covered, for 5 minutes, or until tender-crisp to your liking. Stir into soup and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve immediately, topping with peanuts if desired.