Mind-Wandering Mexi-Curry

by Sarah on January 30, 2012 · 12 comments

During church yesterday,* my “must constantly be thinking about the next activity” elementary school teacher-induced ADD resulted in my mind wandering off to what I might cook for lunch.
*Forgive me, Father.

Once I had piled up the getting-wrinkly bell peppers and ‘past it’s sell-by’ broccoli slaw, my mind wandered straight to the center of the celery…because that’s where the flavor is. [Or the strange lack of flavor–depending on how you look at it–that I somehow love the most.]

After chopping up an onion, and adding it with the celery and peppers to the soup pot, my mind wandered yet again…

…to the question of, “what would happen if I cooked the broccoli slaw, rather than just serve it as, well, slaw?”*
*Or sprinkled on top of a salad, which is what I normally^ do with it.
^And by ‘normally,’ I mean ‘with the first half of the bag because I’ve never actually bought it before.’

When I got to the baby carrots, my mind wandered towards the season two episode of Downton Abbey I was streaming from pbs.org*…
*Thank you facebook friends who have prevented my lack-of-cable longing for season two to cause me nervous anxiety…

…and so I sliced them, rather strangely, for a soup, I suppose.^
^My mind is now wandering to the thought that that would have been a perfect alliterative sentence for the figurative language quiz I gave last week.

Following the semi-accidental opening opening of stewed tomatoes, rather than diced…

my mind wandered to the excitement of actually getting to cut something directly in a can. (And now your minds are probably wandering to the question of why that is exciting?^)
^I just don’t know.

And then I couldn’t decide whether I wanted a Mexican soup, or a curry, and so I let my mind wander to the possibility that perhaps they might work out OK together.

After adding both curry powder AND chili powder (plus a bit of extra cumin), my mind wandered back to my adventures in Asian market shopping for Hot & Southern Soup supplies, where I’d finally purchased pre-minced ginger for just this type of moment.

Minced ginger? Why not? 
 
Mushing up the canned red beans?* Why not, as well?
*I have no idea where my mind was on that one. Stress relief? Textural fun?
[Yes, my mind wandered to the fact that if I was really going to do this Mexi-Curry right, I’d need to add some chickpeas or lentils, too.]
 
I decided since the broccoli slaw had lost its green color with the cooking, I needed to add something herbacious to the boiling brew. My mind wandered as I reached into the spice cabinet, and I grabbed some dried epazote, rather than cilantro. Good thing they are both beloved in Mexican cuisine.
Maybe a little lack of focus every now and then is a good thing.
Mind-Wandering Mexi-Curry Bean Soup
[Makes 12 cups or so]
1 cup diced sweet onion
3/4 cup diced celery (preferably from the inner stalks)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 Tbsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped bell peppers, any color
2 cups broccoli slaw or shredded cabbage
1 cup sliced or chopped carrots
1 14.5-oz. can stewed tomatoes
6 cups vegetable broth
1/4 chopped fresh cilantro (or 2 tsp. dried epazote or cilantro)
1. Saute or steam onion, celery, garlic, and ginger in a soup pot over medium heat until softened.
2. Add peppers, slaw or cabbage, and carrots, as well as spices, stirring well to combine.
3. Cook 5 minutes or so until fragrant, then add in tomatoes and vegetable broth.
4. Bring soup up to a boil, then reduce to simmer until vegetables are soft and ‘bite-able.’
5. Stir in fresh cilantro just before serving, or add dried herbs, if desired.
[As usual with a soup or stew, the flavors truly develop over time, so I don’t recommend eating it right away. I let it sit for three to four hours and ate it with dinner, and it was super spicy and flavorful!]
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