We had friends, Lawrence and MJ over for dinner on Saturday. MJ is a vegetarian and although I could have cooked a meal and remove the non-vegetarian pieces for her, I decided to search my food blog archives for vegetarian recipes – I have a few – and went from there.
We started the evening with bubbly and an assortment of homemade dips, roasted red pepper and artichoke on Belgium endive and homemade bread that I made in the afternoon. Once everyone had a few nibbles and liquid refreshments, we headed to the dinging room. Next on the list was the soup. I had tasted the soup earlier and after heating it up I did another taste test and this time the heat from the curry paste had increased and it was then that I had a bit of a panic attack – what if they didn’t like it? Not to worry I said to appease myself. If the soup wasn’t a hit I would go with plan B and serve a micro salad with roasted tomatoes (yes, these were made earlier…just in case) dressed with meyer lemon infused olive oil and pear balsamic vinegar. The soup was velvety smooth and the hint of spice was calmed by the coriander pesto. They liked it! The main course was a pasta dish with wide noodles (fresh lasagna sheets which I cut into wide strips) tossed in a rich mushroom sauce highlighted with freshly chopped herbs. Feeling very full, we ended with fruit and chocolate. My first all-vegetarian dinner party and it felt good!
adapted from Taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 brown onion, halved, finely chopped
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 liter (4 cups) vegetable stock
1 kg. sweet potatoes, peeled, coarsely chopped
160ml (2/3 cup) coconut milk
fresh coriander leaves, to serve
1 bunch fresh coriander, leaves picked, washed, dried
45g (1/4 cup) roasted cashews
60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
60ml (1/4 cup) coconut milk
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add the stock to the pan. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Add the sweet potato and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool.
To make the pesto, place the coriander and cashews in a food processor and process until finely chopped. While the motor is running, gradually add the oil in a thin, steady stream until combined. Add the coconut milk and process until combined.
Place half the sweet potato mixture in the jug of a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a clean saucepan. Repeat with remaining mixture. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Add the coconut milk and combine. Ladle the soup among serving bowls. Top with coriander pesto and coriander leaves and serve immediately.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: I used a hand blender and the same pot (anything to save time and dishes!). If you are a bit timid to use the curry paste, add a teaspoon at a time and do a taste test. Sweet potatoes are a very good source of vitamin A, C and manganese. Click here for more health benefits of the sweet potato. Enjoy!