There's nothing like a good warm spicy soup when it's cold outside -and it only took you 30 minutes to get it on the table! Here's one such soup...a sure bet when you're pressed for time and trying to clean out the refrigerator.
Much of my ingenuity and creativity in the kitchen simply comes from WORKING WITH WHAT IS ALREADY THERE and right in front of me. This may be one of my favorite strategies in cooking and in life -the practice of using what is already there/here. ... Why? For starters...food waste in this country is incomprehensible. Every stop in the food production conveyor belt is filled with waste that is unique to that stage. Contemplating the magnitude of that problem is overwhelming (yet valuable. Using wisely what I have in my own kitchen, backyard, and neighborhood is one way I can effectively manage resources. When you go with what is right in front of you, at the very least, you make use of what you have, instead of tossing away yet another beautiful fruit or vegetable. This is one example of using a permaculture principle in cooking.
Rather than lamenting a missed item from the grocery store, or wishing I had prepped for today then day before, when I am cooking for myself and my household, "GO WITH THE FLOW" can be essential to play the meal prep game. GO WITH THE FLOW also means follow the energy that is in the ingredients and allow intuitive process with how you sense a good food combination about to happen. For this recipe, I wasn't thinking carrot top pesto, until I got the soup, then I saw a way to use the carrot tops (so often thrown away). The flavor combo is win-win -the sweet spicy creamy soup with the herbaceous lemony pesto creates a tasty yet balanced combo. This recipe is perfect for Meatless Mondays, or any day of the week.
2-3 Tbls olive oil
2 leeks, washed and sliced into thin rounds
3 carrots scrubbed and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
1 large sweet potato, scrubbed and chopped in smallish cubes
2-3 Thai Red Chilies
1-2 pinch of cayenne
Sea Salt & Black Pepper to taste
4-6 cups magic mineral broth (any veggie broth, chicken stock or water will work)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup carrot tops, washed
3 Tbl fresh oregano leaves
2-3 cloves roasted garlic (can be raw, if raw use less)
2-3 Tbl lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
2 pinches red chili flake
Soup: Heat olive oil in stock pot, add leeks and sautee 2-3 minutes. Add celery and carrots and sauteed another 3-4 minutes. Add garlic -sautee 1 minute. Add sweet potato and spices and sautee another 5-6 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of broth and deglaze the pan. Add remaining broth and coconut milk, simmer 10-12 minutes until ingredients are very soft. Allow mix to cool for 10 minutes and then process in blender (or can use immersion blender) until smooth. Adjust taste with salt, lemon or lime, and more spices, as desired.
Pesto: process all ingredients in a small blender until coarsely combined, adjust flavor as desired. Spoon over soup and enjoy. Both the soup and the pesto store easily in glass up to 7 days in the refrigerator. (Hint -the pesto tastes good on everything savory)