Friday, March 31, 2017

Cazuela - Peruvian Vegetable Soup


Cazuela - Peruvian Vegetable Soup
This beautiful and flavorful soup was inspired by this; it is as handsome as it is delicious! The wonderful variety of veggies adds to its taste and beauty! I made a few changes to accommodate the availability of certain ingredients as well as the cooking to keep the veggies intact.

I make homemade broth to enhance the flavor of the soup. The fresh vegetable broth makes this soup unforgettable! I keep a stock pot with simmering water before starting to prep the veggies. As they become available, I add the clean trimmings from each of the vegetable - starting with the onion and garlic ends, ends and leaves from celery, trimmings from carrots, zucchini, and green beans, potato peels, stems and leaves of carrot greens (these add a wonderful carrot flavor), corn cobs, parsley and cilantro stems, zucchini, cauliflower stalks, etc -  to the stock pot. Lastly, don't forget the nutrient-rich and flavorful cooking broth from beans! By the time you need the stock, it is ready!

Notes:

1. I added a Morita chile in lieu of the aji paste which is not easily available. Morita chiles are available in Mexican and Latino markets.

2. Fava beans star in lots of recipes in Peru; but fresh ones aren't always available and when they are, they are labor-intensive as they have to be  and then each bean has to be peeled before adding to the recipes. So I use readily available frozen green Lima beans instead; what could be more Peruvian than Lima beans?

3. Yuca is a Peruvian root veggie and is a lovely addition to this soup; check this post on preparing yuca. If yuca is not available, taro or regular potatoes may be substituted. If using taro roots, precook in their skin until just tender, cool, peel, cut into chunks and add to soup along with carrots and green beans.

4. I love to add cooked barley or small pasta such as orzo as well as Israeli couscous to add to the heartiness; cooking them in the soup requires a lot of time and would overcook  the veggies into a mush.

5. Other dried beans may be used in place of the garbanzos; some possibilities are Limas, Great Northern, Kidney or Peruvian. The beans may be prepared one or two days ahead and reserved in the fridge until needed or frozen for longer storage.


Vegetable Broth

6 cups fresh Water
1 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1 pinch Asafoetida (optional)
Vegetable Trimmings, 3-5 cups
Stems from 1 Bunch Flat Leaf Parsley, Thyme, and Oregano (save leaves for other use)
Lower stems from 1 Bunch fresh Cilantro (save tender stems and leaves for other use)

If you don't have enough trimmings, add a chopped onion , a clove of garlic, a couple of coarsely chopped carrots and celery pieces. The herbs are important for flavor; do include them. Bring all to a boil, lower the heat, cover with a lid slightly ajar, simmer for 30-60 minutes. Let cool and strain. Cool and refrigerate any extra until needed; will stay fresh for 3-4 days in the fridge. May be frozen for longer storage.

Cazuela

1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Onion, finely diced
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1 big Pinch Sea Salt
2 ribs Celery, diced (1 cup)
2 cloves Fresh Garlic, minced
1 Morita Chile
4-5 sprigs Fresh Oregano OR 1 tsp Dried Oregano
2 fresh Corn on the cob, sliced into 1" thick circles
1 cup Corn Kernels, fresh or frozen
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 slice Pumpkin, Winter Squash, OR Sweet Potatoes diced (about 1 cup)
1 small Turnip, diced
1 cup Yuca, peeled and diced OR 1 Potato
1 cup Green Lima Beans, fresh or frozen
1 cup Cooked Garbanzo beans
6 cups Vegetable broth, combination of water and Broth, or water
Salt & freshly ground Pepper to taste
1 handful Fresh Green Beans, cut into small pieces
1 Carrot, diced1 slice green Cabbage, diced (1 cup)
1 medium Zucchini, diced
1 cup Cooked Barley, Quinoa, Brown Rice, or Tiny Pasta
4 Tbsp EACH, Cilantro stems and leaves & Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 recipe Chimichurri to serve (optional)

Method:

Prepare all the ingredients and keep them separate as they will each be added to the pot at different times.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large soup pot; stir in onions, turmeric and the pinch of salt. Cook covered for about 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally; adjust the heat so the veggies don't burn. Tip in the celery, garlic, morita chile and oregano; cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes. 

Add pumpkin, turnip, yuca, corn, tomatoes, garbanzos and the broth or water. Season with salt and Pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer the soup for about 10-12 minutes.

Increase the heat so soup comes to a boil; tip the green beans and carrots into the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes. then stir in barley/pasta, cabbage and zucchini, Turn off the heat. Let sit with lid slightly ajar for 10 minutes.

Fish out the Morita chile; make a paste using a mortal and pestle and stir it back into the soup; but if you prefer a mild soup, discard the chile.

Stir in the Cilantro and Parsley. Serve in large bowls with one or two pieces of the corn on the cob circles in each bowl. Pass the chimichurri to spoon in and mix into the soup if desired. Enjoy!