Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chicken Pepper Soup with Sweet Potato and Coconut

INGREDIENTS (serves 6):

2 medium chicken breasts, cubed
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 inch of ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
3 large (mild) jalapeno peppers, minced
1 dry bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large sweet potato, cubed
1 large green bell pepper, cubed
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 carrot, sliced bite-size
4 cups hearty vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup coconut cream (not coconut milk--the sweet sticky stuff you use for pina coladas)
3 chives, diced
Salt and fresh black pepper

1) In a heavy soup pot, heat the oil until shimmering and add the ginger, garlic, onion, and jalapenos. Sweat for two minutes.
2) Add the sweet potato, carrot, celery, bay leaf, thyme, cinnamon, and vegetable stock, season well, and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 7 minutes.
3) Stir in the green pepper and chicken and simmer for another 6-8 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
4) Remove bay leaf. Add coconut cream and taste, adjusting salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with chives and serve, by itself for lunch or over rice for a heartier meal.

It's too cold in my apartment for me to even think about beer. What you need when you're freezing your nuts off is spicy coconut soup. Hence the abbreviated posting--I'm wearing (apart from a dress and two sweaters) tights with socks over them and fingerless gloves a la Bob Cratchit. Those of you who know me might well argue, "But Lyndsay, you dress like Bob Cratchit every day. You always look like you just barely survived an encounter with a serial knitter. I mean, your daily appearance is...whimsical would be a diplomatic way of putting it." Yes, well, the effort at the moment is in the direction of comfort, not style, and it turns out that feeding lumps of coal to one's radiator has negligible effect on the temperature of the room.

See, the trouble is that the temperature outside is above the legal limit at which the building must turn the heat on. Meanwhile, it's March. In New York. The cat has been trying to burrow under things for hibernation purposes all day. T. S. Eliot was mistaken about which month is cruelest. Spring needs to get itself sprung, and fast.

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