Although she is glamorous, a sophisticated Chicagoan, international traveler, and connoisseur of the finer things in life, Courtney of Coco Cooks is also a passionate cook, baker, and hostess. After frequent requests to create meals, events, and demos, in additional to her full-time career with a national cosmetics brand, Courtney has moved on to parlay her natural talents in the culinary arts into an exciting entrepreneurship. As the force behind her recently launched Coco Cooks Catering, Courtney has been designing menus under the credo of "Food that Makes You Happy."
And happy I am, too, to welcome Courtney as featured guest blogger for October's My Legume Love Affair. I thank her for setting aside some time from her wildly busy schedule to create a soup that is as bright and delightful to the eye as it is to the taste buds.
While Courtney still maintains her five-year old blog, she can also be reached on Twitter and Facebook.
A Fusion of Taste
I’m not a big soup person. Maybe growing up and not having memorable soup experiences but bland grayish watery soups outside the home, just threw me off. There wasn’t a lot of soup made in my house, except for what my father called his Soup, which was more of red tomato based spicy Nigerian stew. It was his staple every day with FuFu, and I believe my boredom with it continued to throw me off the term soup. It wasn’t that the soup or stew was bad, but imagine watching a man eat the same thing day after day, no matter what enticing other soulful options my mother made. I knew from an early age that food shouldn’t be limiting, but adventurous and your taste buds must always be dazzled. Otherwise, what’s the point really?
As I advance as a cook, I find myself creating satisfying tasteful soups, influenced by so many other cultures. Soup is no longer some boring salty water, made of cast offs from the kitchen, to me, but an enticing pottage of flavors that both restore and warm the soul. This month’s theme was vegetarian or vegan, forcing me to explore more out of my culinary box and create. Not having a lot of time these days to cook after work, I turned to my pantry and its reserves. To achieve the creaminess I adore in chowders and bisques, I knew there would be coconut milk as a base. I then got to thinking of my beloved Thai soups and decided red curry would add the heat. The richness and fullness would come from white cannellini beans pureed to give structure. And the finish, influenced by the Thai culture again, would be squirt of lime and cilantro finished with drops of red chili oil. A little different, but in the end it all came together into a satisfying soup to ward off the oncoming autumnal chill.
White Bean and Red Curry Soup in Coconut Milk
15.5 oz can of white cannellini beans rinsed or fresh-cooked beans
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or pomace oil
1 large shallot minced
3-4 cloves garlic minced
4 -5 cups vegetable broth
3 teaspoons red curry paste
1 can coconut milk
Cilantro to garnish
Lime wedges to garnish
*Thai Golden Mountain Sauce (a soy-based vegan alternative to fish sauce) optional
Red chili oil
In a heated stock pot add oil.
Add your minced shallots and garlic and cook on medium heat until translucent and softened.
Add the rinsed beans and allow to cook for a few minutes to absorb the flavors.
Add the red curry paste and mix while cooking.
Take a ½ cup of the vegetable broth and add to the bean and red curry mix. The mixture should dissolve and blend into the broth. Remove from the heat and blend a bit at a time in the blender until puréed. Transfer back to the stock pot.
Add the remaining vegetable broth and bring to a simmer.
Add the coconut milk and simmer. Serves 4.