What Is On Hand - Soup

by Kimberley Thompson, Tastemaker in Residence

One of my favorite memories as a child was coming in after a rousing sled race, rosy cheeked, reddened nose and shaking the cold from my snowsuit, inhaling the intoxicating aroma of Mom's homemade soup bubbling in the big cast iron pot. It never mattered which soup she was making, it all seemed the PERFECT soup at that magical moment.

Homemade soup has that indefinable quality of soul warming by the nature of its simplicity, its universal translation in every culture and the certainty that ANYONE can make a world class soup!

I adore making soup. Signature family favorites, new recipes or the more typical "by the seat of my pants" approach; every soup is my "at that moment" perfect choice.

The following recipe is one of my "what is on hand" favorites. 


3 lbs fresh yams
2 lbs fresh carrots
1 large yellow onion
1 large carton vegetable stock
1 can coconut milk
1 carton creme fraiche
1 can frozen orange juice
1 orange
1/2 cup cashew halves
4 Tbsp good quality curry powder
4 Tbsp olive oil
One loaf artisan bread cut into 1" slices


  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Scrub carrots and yams. Cut into 1" cubes; place in a large bowl. Peel onion and quarter it. Put in same large bowl as yams and carrots. Drizzle olive oil over the cubed vegetables and toss to coat. Sprinkle the curry powder over the vegetables one tablespoon at a time, tossing after each tablespoon to distribute evenly.
  3. Place cubed and seasoned vegetables on a large rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with parchment. Roast for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Turn heat down to 350 and bake another 10 minutes until tender.
  4. While baking, prepare the stock pot. Use one large enough to hold the vegetables and the box of broth. Pour the broth into the pot and turn on low.
  5. Grate the orange zest into a small bowl. Take 1 tablespoon of frozen orange juice concentrate and put in with the zest. Stir in the carton of creme fraiche, cover and put in the fridge so the flavors can meld.
  6. When vegetables are tender; take from the oven and carefully add to the hot stock. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. As the soup simmers, toss the cashews onto the parchment lined sheet pan and place the sheet back into the oven to lightly toast. Watch closely, nuts tend to go from barely toasted to burnt in a blink of an eye! Bring out to cool once they are toasted. When you can touch them without burning your fingers; coarsely chop the cashews and set aside to finish cooling.
  8. Shake the can of coconut milk to re-blend contents. Open and add 1/2 cup to the soup. (I freeze the remaining amount in a zip lock bag to use later.) Turn the heat down to low.
  9. Using a handheld immersion blender, puree the soup until relatively lump free. 
  10. Serve the soup in shallow bowls for easy bread sopping. Top each serving with tablespoon of chopped cashews and a healthy dollop of the orange zest and creme fraiche.