There have been a great number of babies born in the past month. 2011 seemed like the year for baby girls. This year there are a great many little boys. As a February baby, I was excited to welcome friends' babies right around my own birthday: Konrad and Kauila recently joined the school of Pisces.
What do I do when a baby is born? Well, while I wait for cute photos and an opportunity to snuggle with baby, I head to the kitchen to make one of my favorite comfort soups to bring to the new family. And I make extra to feed my sweetheart at home, too... everyone can benefit from comfort soup. This is a wonderful, delicious recipe, chock full of nutritious ingredients. It can be made vegetarian or not.
I originally found inspiration for this recipe in The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook: Whole Foods to Nourish Pregnant and Breastfeeding Mothers - and Their Families, by Cathe Olson, but I don't own the cookbook, so I've taken to making it my own way with the ingredients I remember from the book. I do recommend the book, but had some trouble tracking it down at the library & local bookstores. It has delicious, wholesome recipes with lots of good information about health and nutrition -- worth finding.
Kabocha, Posole & Bean Comfort Soup
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium kabocha squash, seeds removed, cut into bite-sized pieces (or substitute butternut squash, skin removed)
1 - 2 Tablespoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric1 15-ounce can white beans (I like large butter beans, but cannellini are also good)
1 28-ounce can posole (also called hominy), or 3 1/2 cups dried posole, soaked overnight & cooked until it opens, or 'flowers', about 2 hours.
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 pieces kombu
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
2 Tablespoons tahini
1 - 2 Tablespoon miso (I use a dark miso, but any will do)
1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil. Add the chopped onions. Saute 4 - 5 minutes.
2. Add the squash and 1/2 teaspoon salt, stir. Put the top on the pot and let the vegetables sweat and soften for 4- 5 minutes.
3. Add cumin and turmeric, stir again.
4. Add beans and posole, stir to coat with the other vegetables, oil and spices. Cook 4 or 5 minutes to mingle flavors.
5. Add the stock, kombu, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 20 minutes, until the squash is nice and soft. Remove cinnamon stick.
6. Add tahini and miso, being careful not to boil, as this reduces the nutritional value of the miso.
7. Taste. Add more salt or miso, to taste.
8. Serve! This is a great soup on its own, or served over rice or another grain.