Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Comfort Food - Avocado Soup

Have I told you about "The Nanna Shop" before? I'm not sure, but it's very likely as I shop there all the time. It's actually called Cannington Fresh Markets, but my nanna used to live just down the road from there. Growing up, my siblings and I used to walk with her down to The Nanna Shop to buy her a newspaper and us some lollies. It's changed a lot over the years, it used to have a butcher and bakery inside the store but now it's just the one big shop. It has lots of good fresh produce, imported sauces, tinned goods, continental fare, cheese and smallgoods. Usually, if a recipe calls for a slightly left-of-centre ingredient, my first port of call to try find it is The Nanna Shop. Funnily, now my husband and his sister, along with various friends and even my work receptionist now refer to it as The Nanna Shop as well!

The main reason I shop there frequently is for the fruit and veg. And one of the best things they have a buckets of produce at the back of the store. If you can use it, these bulk buy buckets are excellent value. Especially for those things that are a little on the expensive side normally, like mangoes, mushrooms and avocadoes. Usually the produce in the buckets are slightly smaller than what is normally sold in the per kilo section, but is still excellent quality. As summer approaches, I always head straight to the back first, hoping that mango season has started. It's one of my signals that summer is on it's way.

One thing I always buy there is bags of avocadoes. Always. I love avocadoes. Occasionally, I end up with too many and the two of us can't finish them before they've gone a little too soft. Which is where this soup came in. Creamy and subtle and oh-so-easy, this is a great vegetarian soup by itself, or as served here, awesome with the chipotle chicken as an extra kicker. Especially in this got-cold-again weather. And it would be remiss of me to not mention that crispy bacon would then make it a Vegetarian Recipe Improved By Bacon.

The wine in the last photo is from Darlington Estate. I highly recommend you eat there at some point. Awesome food.

Chipotle Chicken
2 chicken thighs
1/4 cup chipotle sauce
1 tbsp rice bran oil

Avocado Soup
adapted from here
1 tbsp rice bran oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
5 cups vegetable stock
3-4 small ripe avocadoes
2 stalks silverbeet, centre white bit removed and shredded.
Handful coriander leaves for garnish
2 jalapenos, sliced, for garnish

Pour the chipotle sauce over the chicken thighs and allow to marinade for 20 minutes or so. Heat the oil in a frypan, BBQ or grill and cook the thighs until done, about 5 minutes per side. Set aside, but keep warm.

Heat the second lot of oil in a pot over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook another few minutes until very fragrant.

Add the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, add the silverbeet and simmer for 5 minutes. Take off the heat.

Add the avocado and blend the whole thing with a stick blender until smooth. Return to a low heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until warmed through.

Slice chicken, then put in the bottom of the serving bowls and pour the soup over the top. Garnish with jalapenos and coriander.

Serve with corn chips, if desired.