Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Marcus Samuelsson's Vegetable Soup

I've had this vegetable soup recipe lifted from a Men's Journal magazine (specifically, the April 2012 issue) in my to-do pile for almost 3 years now. I finally used the excuse of Super Bowl Sunday to unleash it on the family - the recipe itself comes from New York City chef Marcus Samuelsson by way of his native Ethiopia and adopted country Sweden (with a dash of America thrown in as well). The list of ingredients is mostly straightforward (and flexible so that you can pretty much add whatever veggies are rotting away in your crisper drawer), with the exception of the blond miso paste, which forced me to seek out a fantastic local Asian market called MD Oriental. MD has 3 locations in the greater Tampa area and is essentially a dizzying wonderland of exotic goods, most of which appear on the shelves in their original, nearly-impossible-to-interpret packaging (i.e., if I hadn't located an English-speaking manager to help me find my quarry, I'd likely still be aimlessly wandering the aisles). My local Publix was out of orzo, however, I managed to track down some pearl pasta (intended for soups) that substituted just fine. Fearing backlash from my peeps, I omitted the mild green chili called for in the recipe, but otherwise mostly stayed true to the instructions and served it steaming hot with hunks of homemade bread and smoked paprika butter. Even without the green chili, the soup packed a bit of a punch from the ginger/chili powder and had profound flavor depth for a soup that had no meat (other than 2 cups of chicken broth in place of water), from the tangy fresh lemon juice and tomatoes to the fatty avocado and the umami-laced miso paste. While a bit too pungent for a general audience, I'm happy to add Chef M's veggie soup to my tiny canon of Canteen soup recipes (currently numbering 4 or 5)...

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