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I made another little steam oven recipe video to go with this week’s post because it seems you can’t get enough of them! You can view it here. And although the thought of putting myself on camera TERRIFIES me, I’m thinking it’s time to get into some longer videos using Facebook Live where I can talk you through some of the issues which commonly come up when learning to cook in a steam oven. Would you like this?? Hit me with your questions on the Facebook page and I’ll see what I can do…
Somehow an entire week and a half of my life got skipped and I didn’t share anything here at this, my favourite place on the web.
Perhaps it has something to do with the long-awaited new project/business I finally managed to launch. Thank goodness, too. It's been a very long time coming and I’ve been so excited - and nervous - about it but didn’t want to tout anything too early). Should you be inclined, please share it with everyone you know and go like the yet-to-be-posted-on Facebook page, I’d be most grateful and I have lots of interesting – even funny – things to share over there about writing and non-foodie life in general.
Anyhoo, because the past couple of weeks have been what you might call cray-cray at our place what with all the settling into school, daycare and new work schedules, I’ve needed a few meals to satisfy the ‘5-minute heat and serve’ factor. Enter cauliflower and pumpkin soup with ginger, lemongrass and coconut.
Yep, that’s right – you can absolutely make soup in your combi steam oven. Great, huh?
This recipe is terribly inauthentic in terms of being true to any one cuisine type but I haven’t had any complaints here. The leeks usually lend themselves to European dishes while the ginger, garlic, lemongrass and turmeric are decidedly South East Asian, as is the coconut milk – though that could also be Pacific Rim, Indian or Caribbean in origin. Take your pick. I don’t think the mish-mash of cuisines matters, as what you end up with here is something warming, cohesive, and full of depth. I love it.
I don’t make all soups in my steam oven, but generally anything I intend to turn into a pureed soup – think root vegetables, cauliflower, sweetcorn, broccoli, peppers or zucchini – goes very well. The flavours of the vegetables get intensified by the humidity and remain soft enough to blend easily, so it’s a great way to cook all your soup vegetables without having to stand and stir a pot to stop things catching before you add the liquid.
In today’s case, I used my biggest cast iron casserole pot to sweat leeks, lemongrass, ginger and garlic at a lower heat before increasing the oven temperature and layering in spices, a head of broken-up cauliflower and some diced pumpkin. No stirring, just cook until the pumpkin is tender and starting to brown, then puree with stock and coconut milk or cream. It’s easy, makes a huge batch of soup to keep in your fridge or freezer and there are countless ways to vary the flavour profile. Don’t like the Asian theme I went with? Try herbs like basil or thyme instead of the ginger/lemongrass/coconut, or drop in a big handful of baby spinach leaves to wilt before pureeing. That’s the nice thing about soup – it’s forgiving and changeable depending on what you have in the fridge (although no, you shouldn’t put in the floppy celery or half-moldy carrot you see floating around in that vegetable drawer. Just don’t).
I really hope today’s post gives you an insight into how easy it is to put together a healthy, hearty soup in your steam oven using the method I’ve followed below. I’d love to hear about it in the comments or on Facebook if you give it a try.
Happy steam oven cooking, see you here again soon.
Combi Steam Cauliflower and Pumpkin Soup with Ginger and Lemongrass
Serves at least 6-8
I like my soups thick and hearty so used about 1 litre of stock for the below quantities, but if you’d prefer yours less like a vegetable puree you’ll need to add more liquid.
3 tbs coconut oil or olive oil
2 leeks, sliced (onions are also fine but I love the more gentle flavour of leeks)
2 stalks lemongrass, tender bottom parts only, bruised and sliced
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
A thumb-sized piece ginger, roughly chopped
2 tsp ground turmeric (a piece of fresh turmeric would be even better but it’s almost impossible for me to find fresh)
½-1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
A large head cauliflower (mine was 900g/2lb), broken up into florets and stalks roughly sliced
600g (1.3lb) pumpkin, peeled and cut into 2.5cm/1” pieces
1 x 270ml tin coconut cream
1-1.5l (4-6 cups) light vegetable or chicken stock
Set your oven to 120⁰C/248⁰F on combination steam setting (80-100% humidity).
Put the oil in the bottom of a large casserole pot and tilt to coat evenly. Pile the leeks, lemongrass, ginger and garlic on top of the oil (no need to stir) and place in the oven for 12 minutes. Remove and increase the oven temperature to 180⁰C/356⁰F on combination steam setting (60% humidity).
Sprinkle the turmeric and cayenne pepper over the softened leek mixture, add the cauliflower and then pumpkin (again, don’t worry about stirring). Return the pot to the oven and cook until the vegetables are very soft and the pumpkin has just started to take on some colour at the edges – anywhere from 25-35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Once the vegetables have cooled slightly, add the coconut cream and 1 litre (4 cups) of the stock and stir gently. Puree with a stick blender - my preferred method because everything stays in the same pot - or run batches through a food processor or blender. I like mine smooth but you could leave the soup slightly chunky, and thin with a little extra stock if it’s too thick.
But I don’t have a steam/combi-steam oven! You can make this as you would any other soup on the cooktop, though might I suggest you roast the cauliflower and pumpkin rather than boiling them for extra intensity? I’d gently sweat the leek mixture while you roast the vegetables in a 180⁰C oven for about 30 minutes (lightly coat the veg with olive oil before you roast them lest they become dry and tough), then add them to the pot with the liquid, warm through and blend.
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After other simple steam oven recipes? If you’re not sick of pumpkin after today’s post, I did something completely different with it a couple of weeks ago and made a Low Carb Pumpkin Loaf. Or maybe some more warming weeknight inspiration is your thing - try the Maple, Lime and Ginger Chicken. And there are lots of other great dinners listed in the Easy Meals index.