May 22, 2014

Recipe: Edamame Jalapeno Soup

Moving across the country presents a number of challenges. One of the biggest (at least for cooks like myself) is realizing you have just a few weeks to use up your perishable food. The well-stocked refrigerator and freezer you've so carefully maintained suddenly go from wonderfully convenient to huge pain in the tuchus. I suppose you could just make peace with things and toss a bunch of food, but the wastefulness of that prospect just kills me.

Instead, I've been dutifully cooking my way through as much food as possible. It's kind of fun, really - like my very own game of Chopped. I imagine Ted Allen saying, "What can you make with frozen edamame, cashews, limes, and a bunch of slightly-shriveled jalapenos?". Well, Ted, I will be making a delicious pureed soup. And no, Scott, it will not involve raw red onions.

I was a little concerned that the firm texture of edamame (young green soybeans) wouldn't blend into a perfectly smooth soup, but a quick Google search turned up a number of examples proving otherwise. Heidi Swanson suggests straining this edamame soup, but I didn't find straining necessary with mine. Simmering the beans in the soup broth softened them nicely, and after that all it took was a couple minutes in my trusty KitchenAid blender to turn out a velvety-smooth soup.

Despite being a spur-of-the-moment recipe, this Edamame Jalapeno Soup is great. The edamame packs 16 grams of protein into each serving, making this an excellent high-protein vegan lunch or dinner. Removing the ribs and seeds from the jalapenos takes the heat level down to a gentle warmth and really lets the flavor of the pepper shine through. A handful of cashews adds richness, a dash of cumin lends a smoky note, and a bit of lime juice wakes up all the flavors. Move or no move, this recipe's a keeper.

Edamame Jalapeno Soup
Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces jalapeno peppers (about 4 peppers)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 pound shelled edamame beans (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup raw cashews
1 quart vegetable broth (I used 4 cups water plus 2 teaspoons vegetable bouillon paste)
1 tablespoon lime juice

Cut the stems from the peppers, then slice peppers in half lengthwise and remove seeds and ribs from the interiors. Finely chop the peppers.

In a large pot over medium heat, cook the peppers and onions in oil for 5-7 minutes until beginning to soften, then add the garlic and cumin and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the beans, cashews, and vegetable broth. Cover with lid and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until beans are very tender.

Transfer half of soup to blender and blend for 1-2 minutes until completely smooth (remember to remove the center portion of the lid and cover with a towel to allow steam from the hot soup to escape); transfer from blender. Blend remaining half of soup. Return blended soup to pot over low heat and add lime juice. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. Serve with a dollop of vegan sour cream or plain yogurt if desired. Soup will keep in fridge for 1 week.

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