|Lady Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham would not approve of this "exotic" soup - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
In order to really absorb all the drama of this series, you don't want a fussy meal to distract from whatever hour-long intrigue that's afoot, so I suggest a creamy, rich squash and peanut soup. It's quick, delicious and looks all fancy-like if you garnish it up nicely. I admit, it's nice to have some pre-roasted squash that was frozen and set aside for a rainy day, but if you had a can of plain, unsweetened pumpkin, that would work dandy for this. I had a particular hankering for the spice of curry and the sweetness of peanut butter, so I combined the two in this soup. You can use your favorite curry powder or a small spoonful of curry paste to mix in with your squash puree, a heavy shake of chili or cayenne powder for heat, and about a quarter cup of smooth unsweetened peanut butter. Add in enough chicken or vegetable stock to give it the consistency you want in the soup, and if you have a stick blender, run that through as well, to give it a super-creamy consistency. Season to taste -- add salt and pepper accordingly, and if you want to highlight the sweetness, add a little sugar or honey to it.
My favorite soup topping is pan-fried chickpeas. Simple enough to make -- take a can of well-drained chickpeas and toss lightly with canola oil and some of the curry powder before putting them into a pan heated to medium. They'll sizzle and pop a bit, you just want to cook out as much of the liquid but not burn the beans. They'll get seasoned, smoky and lightly crisped, and be a bit lighter with so much of the water cooked out, so they'll top a thick soup rather nicely.
|Downton-Harry Potter meme-osity by the Mister... and crispy chickpeas! - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
But enough fussing!! Downton's starting -- shhhhhh!!