Plantain and Coconut Soup with Shrimp, Tomato and Avocado Salad – Recipe

I wanted to make mushroom soup for my 2012 Christmas Eve dinner.  Mika wanted butternut squash soup.  I figured I’d compromise and find something else.  For some reason I was set on having a savory fruit-based soup, so when I came across this recipe I felt I had found gold.  It got amazing reviews, and I’d had great luck with other recipes from Emeril.

As things turned out, I was not too happy with the soup.  I felt it tasted mostly of chicken broth, with only hints of coconut and none of plantains.  If I was going to serve it, I felt I had to fix it – so I ended up adding the rest of the coconut milk from the can as well as 3 bananas and some nutmeg.  The results were much tastier than before, and Mika was pleased.

I don’t eat shrimp myself, but according to my guests and my husband, the shrimp salad was delicious – both by itself and when combined with the soup.  This is high praise coming from my husband, as he doesn’t like either tomatoes or avocados!

Plantain and Coconut Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp.  olive oil
  • 1/3 cup small diced salt pork
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 small celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 4 tsp. curry powder
  • 4 large yellow plantains with slightly green tips and some black spots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 can  coconut milk
  • 3 small bananas, coarsely chopped
  • salt & black pepper to taste
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp.  lime juice
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped

Instructions

Heat a soup pot over medium heat and add the oil.  When hot, add the salt pork and cook until crispy, about 6 minutes.  Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and curry powder and saute for 30 seconds.  Add the plantains and the stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the plantains are soft, about 45 minutes.

Remove from the heat and add the coconut milk and bananas.  Puree the soup, either using an immersion blender (easiest) or in batches, in a regular blender.  Return to the pot, taste and adjust seasoning.

Just before serving, reheat the soup and add the lime juice.

Place the sour cream in a small serving bowl and sprinkle the cilantro on top of it.  Serve the soup with the salad (recipe below) and sour cream on the side.  Before eating, combine the three elements.

 Shrimp, Tomato and Avocado Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined and diced
  • 1  tsp. creole seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced avocado
  • 1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Instructions

Season the shrimp with the creole seasoning and set aside.

Heat a saute pan over medium heat.  Add butter and melt.  Add garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, avocado and cilantro and mix.  Turn heat to very low.  Season with salt and continue cooking until the shrimp is completely cooked through.

Marga’s 2012 Christmas Eve Dinner

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Curried Butternut Squash Soup – Recipe

Once again, my daughter Mika asked me to make butternut squash soup as part of my Christmas Eve menu.  I had made a version of it for my 2008 Christmas Eve dinner, but I hadn’t been that thrilled with it.  I found a number of well-rated recipes online, but many reviewers suggested that they were quite bland without some doctoring.  So I decided to start with Claire Robinson‘s recipe as a base and add extra seasonings to make it tastier.  The results were quite good, even my husband liked the taste.  I didn’t blend it as much as I should have, however, so parts of it were a bit chunky 🙁  The soup, as I made it, was unfortunately a bit too spicy for Mika, though perfect for the rest of us.  To make it child friendly substitute regular curry powder for the Madras curry powder I used.  I made this soup the day before I served it, it heated up very well.  This recipe should serve 12 adults easily, half it if there are fewer of you.  Serve with sour cream.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

  • 2 butternut squashes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil + more for brushing
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 shallots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. curry powder
  • 2 tsp. Madras curry powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 quarts chicken stock

Directions

Preheat oven to 375F

Cut off tops and bottoms of the squashes.  Cut them in two, lengthwise.  Scoop out and discard the seeds.  Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and put facing down on a baking sheet.  Bake in the oven for 1 hour.  Remove from the oven and carefully turn the squash around, so the flesh faces up.  Let cool and then scoop out the pulp into a bowl, discarding the peels.

Heat 3 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium-high heat in a stock pot.  Add the chopped shallots and the ginger and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the sage and spices and cook, stirring, for a minute or two.  Add the reserved squash and the stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 10 minutes.  Let cool and then blend with an immersion blender until smooth.  Alternatively, blend in a blender in batches.  Return to the pot and cook for at least five more minutes to let flavors blend.  Season with salt and pepper.

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Marga’s 2011 Christmas Eve Menu

 


Butternut squash soup with cider cream

soup.jpg
For some reason, my daughter Mika got it into her head that she liked butternut squash soup, and she requested that I make it for Christmas. Now, butternut squash soup is not my favorite, but she was pretty insistent, which she rarely is for any food item.

I made this soup based on a (surprise, suprise) epicurious.com recipe. The recipe got great reviews, and people at my dinner table really liked it. In particular, Mika loved it.

Personally, I wasn’t sold by it, but I felt the cider cream was an essential ingredient for the soup to work – the sour element gave it an extra dimension to what would otherwise have been pretty bland results. I used Trader Joe’s sparkling apple cider, because that’s what I found at TJ’s. I used Better than Bouillon for the chicken stock – I usually just add the water and the appropriate amount of concentrate, rather than make the stock before hands. It’s easier and just as effective

I made the soup a day in advance and I think that improved it. I’d make it again if my daughter requested it.

On a different note, I found that the easiest way to peel the squash was to cut it into sections and then use a pairing knife to peel.

I didn’t change the recipe very much (if at all) – though below I’m providing adjusted ingredients. The original recipe turned out twice the amount of soup I needed to serve 8 as a soup course. There were no leftovers, though.

Butternut squash soup with cider cream

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small chunks
  • 2 medium leeks, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 medium carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Granny smith apple, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. dried sage leaves
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock.
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • half bunch of fresh chives, chopped.

Melt butter over medium-high heat in a stock or large pot. Add squash, leeks, carrot and celery. Sautee for about 15 minutes, until soft. Add apples, thyme and sage and mix. Add chicken stock and 1/2 cup of cider. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes, until apples are tender. Cool.

Puree the soup in a blender, in batches. Return to the soup.

Meanwhile boil 1/4 cup cider in a small pan and reduce it by half. Cool. Place sour cream in a small bowl and whisk in the cider.

Bring soup to a slow boil. Add the whipping cream and mix well. Transfer the soup to a serving dish and drizzle with the sour cream. Top with chopped chives.

2008 Christmas Eve Dinner Menu

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