Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Christine's Recipe for Thai-Style Sausage and Vegetable Soup

Inspiration for this what can I do with all those vegetables lounging in the vegetable crispers? soup came from the Thai-spiced sausage I picked up at the market recently. After that the soup practically made itself.
Cilantro grows year-round in my garden, even when it snows. Just when the summer crop is winding down, little volunteers start coming up and, hardy souls that they are, manage to make it through the winter.

I didn't get a photo, but one of our local inland farmers has a kaffir lime tree and is now selling fresh-picked leaves at the farmers market. I couldn't resist buying a packet.

Add to these beginnings, some garlic, fresh ginger, lots of fresh farmers market vegetables and some lite coconut milk and there you have it. A soup full of zingy fresh flavor, bright colors, and wholesome goodness.

Christine's Thai-Style Sausage and Vegetable Soup
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 large shallot, peeled and finely chopped
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 Kaffir lime leaves
1 and 1/2 cups low to no-sodium chicken stock, preferrably home made
2 cans organic, lite coconut milk
12-15 crimini mushrooms, wiped clean and thinly sliced
1 large red jalapeno pepper, seeds and veins removed, finely minced
4 Thai Style uncured sausage by Niman Ranch, thinly sliced
2 red bell peppers or sweet Italian peppers, chopped small
2 carrots, pared and thinly sliced
2 small golden zucchini (from my garden!), thinly sliced
2 cups fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
handful of fresh garden pea pods, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
juice from 2 small limes

Prepare all ingredients as specified above.
Place the chicken stock in a large pot over low heat, waiting to receive the fixins.
Sauté the sausage slices in a large, heavy skillet (I use cast iron) until lightly browned. Using tongs, transfer the sausage to the soup pot. Reserve the rendered fat in the skillet.
Sauté the shallots, garlic and ginger in the skillet over medium heat until soft and golden. Transfer to the soup pot and increase the heat to medium high. You are finished with the skillet now and all your attention should be on the soup pot.
Allow the stock to come to just under a boil and add the carrots, zucchini, mushrooms and peppers. Let these cook for about 6 minutes or until they are softly cooked.
Add the green beans and pea pods and cook for 5 minutes more.
Check to see that the vegetables are almost cooked through.
Lower the heat to medium low and add the coconut milk. Simmer until everything is done to your liking. Don't allow the soup to boil.
To finish the soup, remove the lime leaves if you can find them, add the lime juice and chopped cilantro.
Stir gently, remove from the heat and serve.

Cook's Notes:
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