Monday, February 28, 2011

The Soup Project: Jamaician Bean Soup with Lime and Coconut

While I was working on the Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook, a woman from Port Angeles phoned me. She said she'd gotten my first book Local Vegetarian Cooking at the library and was crazy about my Jamaican Red Bean Soup recipe. I thought the recipe would be in the Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook, since I was revising the first book to create the new book, so I talked her into waiting to buy the new book.

But as it turned out, I didn't put the recipe in because I had to shave off 20,000 words. That's more than the dog biscuit chapter, which my Cooking Assistant protested and pouted over. I had to take out recipes, plus, I added farmer and co-op recipes to the new book, so many favorites stayed in the frist book. The new cookbook had a Northwest focus, so the Jamaican Red Bean Soup no longer fit the profile. But now every time I think of this recipe, I think about the woman from Port Angeles and I wish I'd gotten her name.

What exactly did this woman like about the soup? Had to be the coconut-lime combination. For me, pepper-coconut-lime is the key to the soup's success. (Though I suppose the cumin and oregano need some credit, too.)

When I bought beans for the soup yesterday, I grabbed white beans instead of the red listed in my original recipe. The potatoes are also white, which would make it a little boring to look at, so I added a yam and then some kale for something green. For me, every soup needs a little green. My Cooking Assistant agrees.


Jamaican (Red) Bean Soup with Lime and Coconut
Peppers, coconut and lime combine to make this irresistible hearty bean soup. Serve it with warm corn tortilla and a green salad topped with pickled beets.

2 tablespoons organic canola oil
1 red onion, medium dice
1 habanero or jalapeno pepper seeded and chopped or 1 tablespoon chopped Mama Lil's peppers
10 cloves garlic (about 1 head) peeled and minced or pressed
2 medium red potatoes, washed and diced
1 small yam, washed and diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dry oregano
5 cups water
2 cans rinsed and drained white or red beans
2 cups finely sliced kale
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
Juice of 1 lime, or 2 tablespoons fresh juice
Salt to taste

1. Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add oil, onion and pepper. Stir and cook until onions are lightly browned. Add garlic, potatoes, yams, cumin, oregano and water. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 25 minutes.

2. Stir in beans, kale, rice, red wine vinegar and coconut milk. Cook until kale is soft, about 5 minutes. Add juice of 2 limes. Taste and add more the remaining lime, if desired. Salt to taste.


I have to say anyone who has ever eaten this soup loves it, even Tom who normally makes few comments, said, "Excellent."

This is my Cooking Assistant's portion.

6 comments:

Joan said...

this sounds wonderful and I just happen to have an opened can of coconut milk that needs to be finished off. I just love your cooking assistant! Does he get to go with you on book tours? He's a prince!

ddzeller said...

Hey Joan if you make it let me know how it turns out. Finn is an excellent assistant and seems to take his job of posing seriously.

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