Don’t worry, I’m only going to rant for a little while here, and then I’ll serve up my latest batch of soups. Dr. Martin Luther King is very much in my thoughts this week as I and pretty much every female friend I have plan to spend next Saturday in Seattle. We’ll be participating in a silent Womxn’s March in solidarity with women marching in Washington DC and in over 350 sister marches across our own country as well as groups in 30 countries all around the world. I love that this march is less against than for: For human rights. For the health and wellbeing of our planet. For universal health care. For reproductive freedom. For free public education. For economic justice. For freedom of religion. For freedom of speech. And and and, but all FOR the most wholesome, healthy, free and just life we can create together.
I’ve also been inspired to make some wholesome, healthy AND delicious soups to honor people from other parts of the world who brought their own traditional foods to this country. I’ve been proud my whole life of America’s stated aim and high dream of becoming a place where refugees from everywhere are genuinely welcome, not just to assimilate but to share the riches of their own cultures and traditions with all of us other immigrants and the country’s original First People as well. I hope and pray that sooner rather than later, each wave of immigrants and refugees is truly celebrated as enrichment for the country and the world.
Southern, Northern, All Around The World
Ok, soup time. Winter chills always make me want to enjoy hearty soups like chili, of which there must be a million forms. Chili or any classic combination of rice and beans can make for a tasty and satisfying vegan meal that can easily be tweaked to suit your own taste. Personally, I don’t think think this one needs meat to make it fabulous but try it and see what you think. Black eyed peas and ham hocks are equally traditional folk fare that can be slow cooked or simplified for a speedier supper. If you choose the slow food version, soak dried black eyed peas overnight and simmer them to tenderness with a ham hock, or use canned cooked beans and chopped ham for a faster feast. And if you think collards taste like mud, use any of the many winter greens instead.
Black Eyed Peas And Collard Greens
1 tablespoon safflower oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped (including leafy tops)
2 carrots, chopped
1 ham hock OR 1 cup chopped ham
2 cups soaked black eyed peas OR beans of choice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cups chopped collards OR chard, kale, etc.
In a soup pot, combine oil, onion, celery, carrots, and ham hock (*) over medium heat and cook for five minutes. Add soaked black eyed peas and water to cover by two inches, bring to a simmer, cover pan and reduce heat to low. Simmer gently until beans and ham hock are tender (an hour or two), add salt and pepper to taste, then add chopped greens and simmer for five minutes before serving. (*) If you use cooked black eyed peas and chopped ham, add the ham in place of the ham hock and cook for five minutes, add cooked beans and water to cover by an inch with salt and pepper to taste and bring to a simmer. Add greens and simmer for 5 minutes, then serve. Serves 4.
Spicy Rice And Beans One Bowl Soup
1 cup short grain brown rice
1 tablespoon avocado oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 large sweet potato, coarsely grated (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1-1/2 cups diced fire-roasted tomatoes (or 1 15-ounce can)
2-3 tablespoons chili seasoning (mild or hot)
2 cups cooked pinto or red beans, drained if canned
1 ripe avocado, thickly sliced
1/4 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 lime, quartered
Cook brown rice in a rice cooker according to package directions. While it cooks, combine oil, garlic, onion, salt, and cumin seed over medium heat in a soup pot and cook for 5 minutes. Add sweet potato and cumin with water to cover, cover pan and simmer until tender (10-15 minutes). Add diced tomatoes with juices, chili seasoning, and cooked beans and bring to a simmer. Heat through and serve in a deep bowl with a scoop of brown rice, garnished with avocado slices, pumpkin seeds, and a spritz of lime juice. Serves four.