We traveled about 1600 miles from October 21 when we left San Francisco area to November 21 when we arrived here in Puerto Vallarta area. That is way too fast for comfort when coastal hopping, especially when that included several gear failures which we had to stop and fix. However now that we are here we can slow down a bit. The recipe I’m sharing today is easy enough for passage-making – I think I’ve made it on every passage we’ve made – and yet still tasty enough to use when at anchorage for awhile.
When you find yourself by intention or equipment failure without refrigeration it is common to turn to canned foods. Indeed we would not survive long on our boat without canned foods, although we may use dried foods as frequently. However canned foods need fresh flavors to not taste, well, canned. So the judicious use of spicing and add-ins makes the difference. In this recipe not only are there plentiful spices and fresh foods added, but the spices add a tropical flair that is usually not a part of this classic soup. And of course you don’t need to use cans if you have access to the fresh versions of these ingredients.
A note on Cilantro
I am finding it difficult to keep cilantro fresh on the boat. The cilantro I have been able to find looks old when I buy it and tends to rot in place if I don’t use it the first day. I usually find the best way to keep cilantro is to treat it like flowers – I cut the stems short and plunk it in a cup of water. This worked great in cooler climates with fresh herbs, but not so well here. Luckily I picked up freeze-dried cilantro at some point and this is surprisingly effective and tasty. I also have some cilantro past in a tube, but it doesn’t seem to have the nice visual effect of the freeze-dried which leaves lovely green specks.
A modern take on a classic soup
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 onion diced
- 15 oz corn canned, fire-roasted
- 1 potato diced
- 1 sweet potato diced
- 15 oz tomatoes canned
- 4 oz green chilies canned
- 1 qt broth
- 1 can coconut milk
- 15 oz chick peas
- 1 tsp brown sugar or to taste
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 3 tbsp cilantro chopped
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat and stir in the cumin, curry and chili powder, cook for one minute to infuse the oil with spice. Add the chopped garlic and onion. Stir and cook for five minutes.
Add the corn, sweet potato, tomatoes, green chiles and stir for a minute. Add the broth. Cover and bring to a high simmer. Lower the heat and simmer gently, covered, until the potatoes are tender, about twenty minutes or so.
Add the coconut milk and beans. Stir and season with sea salt and ground pepper; and add a pinch of brown sugar, to taste. Heat through gently [please don't boil it].
Garnish with cilantro and lime juice and serve.
If you try this, let me know what you think or if you come up with improvements. Like crab. If you weren’t constrained by refrigeration, wouldn’t this be great with crab meat? I’d like to try that…