One tip that always comes in handy when making 30 minute meals is to take short-cuts and also to do some ground-work before hand like on the weekends. Short-cuts could be store-bought masala pastes, pre-packaged salad greens etc. Prepping for meals over the weekend is also a great tip. I usually clean and chop veggies (like carrots, cauliflower, broccoli etc.) and refrigerate them in Ziploc bags ready to use. This saves some time during the week and also saves a lot of space in the refrigerator.
Also if I don’t use a veggie during the week and it looks like it won’t last anymore, I chop it up and microwave it until tender, then cool it completely and freeze it sealed in a Zip-loc bag. This will give the veggie at least another month of life. This technique works well for veggies like pumpkin, bottle gourd (sorakaya), zucchini etc.
As for today’s recipe, I was looking for 30 minute meal ideas to make for 7day blogging marathon and found this potato soup recipe in Veganomicon. I had some potatoes that needed to be used up pronto and this soup sounded just perfect. If you bake the potatoes before hand, the whole soup and the cornmeal crusted potato wedges take about 30 minutes to make.
Note: You can bake the potato in the oven or the microwave. To make it in the microwave, scrub and wash the potatoes, dry with a paper towel. Put a big X in the middle of the spud, put it on a microwave safe plate and microwave for about 3½ to 4 minutes per potato. My microwave has a pre-set baked potato button and I baked 3 potatoes at a time for 11½ minutes. To bake in the oven, pierce the potatoes with fork, coat them lightly with oil and bake them in a 350°F oven for about 1 hour.
Halve the baked potatoes lengthwise and set aside 3 halves to make potato wedges. Chop the rest of the potatoes into ¾th inch cubes.
Heat 2tbsp oil in a saucepan and sauté onions on medium-high heat until browned about 8-10 minutes.
Add garlic, thyme, fennel, sage, salt and pepper; sauté for another 2 minutes.
Add wine (or broth) and deglaze the pan. Next add the chopped potato and broth; cover and bring to a low boil. Stir in the chopped spinach, cover and cook for 12-15 minutes.
Using a potato masher, mash half of the potatoes into smooth. Stir in soy milk, mix well and serve hot.
While the soup is bubbling, make the Cornmeal crusted Potato wedges.
Mix cornmeal, thyme, paprika, garlic, salt and pepper in a plate. Cut the baked potato halves into half lengthwise, you should have 6 wedges in the end.
Heat 2tbsp oil in a cast iron skillet on medium heat.
Lightly wet the cut edges of the wedges and drench them in the cornmeal. Sauté them for about 4 minutes per side or until the crust is golden brown. Flip the wedge and add a little more oil if needed and cook for another 4 minutes. Serve hot with the soup.
This soup is very tasty and flavorful with the hint of fennel and thyme. I liked it a lot and the leftovers tasted great for lunch the next day. Potato lovers will definitely LOVE this soup.
Check out out my fellow marathoners have coked up today: