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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Soup-Supper

I bought all the ingredients for traditional Irish corned beef and cabbage and planned to make Grandma Dwyer’s soda bread to go with it. The meal was meant for the soup-supper at church before Lent service. Making the dish in a crock pot required me to put in the meat first at dawn, five hours later, adding the hard veggies—carrots, onions, potatoes—then throwing in chunks of cabbage just before leaving for church. Great plan.

Three briskets of corned beef and two bags of vegetables sat in the refrigerator waiting my skilled hands—for days. Unfortunately, my car went to the shop but wasn’t ready on Tuesday. I had to pick it up Wednesday morning. Then my husband had two doctor appointments on opposite sides of town with three hour wait in between. Then time slipped through my fingers.

As we drove home, the reality hit me. We had one hour left before I was to arrive at church with my soup du jour. There was no way I could make it. I hadn't started anything. What to do? What to do?

When we arrived, I had twenty minutes to cook, dress, and leave. I thought of chicken soup but then why? Others would probably have that. Of course, with a pastor named Murphy I figured I wouldn’t be the only one planning corned beef on March 16th—the day before St. Patty’s Day.

With no time to eat myself, I decided on a simple Vegan dish that could be shared with the closeted-vegans within the congregation. An appropriate choice in retrospect. The dish proved popular though nestled in between the good Germanic based dishes—kielbasa sausage soup, sauerkraut soup, potato cheese soup—served to a Lutheran crowd.

Only one complaint echoed in the kitchen about the lack of Irish fare that came from our own Pastor Mike. He forgave me my transgression and tried my soup. I think his wife liked it better than he.

Vegan Lemongrass and Thai Chili Soup (17 minutes from start to finish)

1 qt Container Organic Vegetable Stock Low Sodium
1 8 oz Small Can Garbanzo Beans
1 24 oz Large Can Red Kidney Beans
½ cup Celery Heart Chopped
½ cup Bell Pepper Julienned—Red, Yellow or Orange
½ cup Carrots Sliced
3 Green Onions Chopped
6 Button Mushrooms sliced or canned mushrooms
4 leaves of Kale Chopped in Squares
4 leaves of Swiss Chard Chopped
2 rolls of Mung Bean Threads
1/3 cup Mizo Paste
¼ to ½ cup of Frozen Chopped Lemongrass and Thai Chili or chop the fresh ingredients
1/3 cup Soy Sauce

First dump the vegetable stock into a large pan and heat over medium burner. Add the hard vegetables—carrots, onions, celery—and the mung bean threads. Add drained and washed canned beans. Raise the heat. As the mixture starts to bubble add the rest of the vegetables. Stir. When the mung bean threads are soft, shut off the heat and add the lemongrass, Thai chili, Mizo paste and soy sauce. Mix well. Serves six to eight. Should be done in 17 minutes. That’s what it took me. Plus I transferred the whole thing into a crock pot and drove it to the church for Lent service.