So I had never heard of this soup before my husband made it a month ago, but I have to admit despite sounding like a mish mash of crazy ingredients, it was actually very very good and unique. It reminded me of Indian food (the curry) in soup form, but it was more mild and soothing. I really liked the addition of the ginger and coconut milk.
This is a recipe that will challenge you to stretch your pantry – but it’s a lot of fun to make and even more fun to eat with a great big group of friends.
- 4 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
- 1 1/2 pounds diced boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 tablespoons garam masala
- 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups small diced onions
- 1/2 cup small diced carrots
- 1/2 cup small diced celery
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger
- 2 cups peeled, cored and diced Granny Smith apples
- 1 cup peeled and diced Yukon gold potatoes
- 1 cup peeled and diced sweet potatoes
- 1 cup dried red lentils
- 6 cups chicken or beef stock
- 3/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup diced zucchini
- 3/4 cup diced yellow squash
- 1 cup tightly packed baby spinach
- 1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 3 cups steamed white basmati rice
- 1/2 cup toasted, finely ground cashews
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Tip: Get your “Mise” on
A La Wikipedia: Mise en place (pronounced [miz on plas], literally “putting in place”) is a French phrase defined by the Culinary Institute of America as “everything in place”, as in set up. It is used in professional kitchens to refer to organizing and arranging the ingredients (e.g., cuts of meat, relishes, sauces, par-cooked items, spices, freshly chopped vegetables, and other components) that a cook will require for the menu items that he or she expects to prepare during his/her shift.
Basically, what we do is chop, sift, measure, pour, squeeze, prepare, etc. every individual ingredient that is going to be used in preparation for the meal, and group it together with the other ingredients it is used with in its own little dish / bowl / spoon / etc. This helps you stay organized and makes sure you don’t miss any key ingredients in the making of the dish.
Here is what our “mise” looks like
Set a 4 or 5-quart saucepan over medium heat and add the ghee. While the ghee is heating, season the chicken with the garam masala and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Once the ghee is hot, add the chicken and cook, turning often, until golden brown and fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside to cool.
While the chicken is cooling, add the onions, carrots and celery to the hot pan and saute until lightly caramelized, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and apples to the pan and saute until the apples are caramelized, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the potatoes, sweet potatoes, and lentils to the pan, along with 4 cups of the chicken stock. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook the soup until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the reserved chicken, the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, the pepper, remaining 2 cups of chicken stock, zucchini, squash, spinach, coconut milk, and tomatoes. Continue to cook the soup at a simmer until the lentils and chicken are both tender, 10 to 15 minutes longer.
Remove from the heat and stir in the cider vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. To serve the soup, place 1/4 cup of the rice in a warmed bowl, and pour 8 ounces of the soup over the rice, garnish with a tablespoon of the cashews, and 2 teaspoons of the cilantro.