GREEN BANANA AND CELERY SOUP
Caribbean Food Made Easy
by Levi Roots
This soup opens up your appetite for a meal to come, or it can be lunch on its own. The greener the banana the better, as it will be more savoury - though it makes them harder to peel. The christophene, which West Indians call cho-cho, is an optional extra in this recipe but it adds a certain refreshing, smooth texture and is worth including if you can find it. Use as little or as much chilli as you like.
• 2 green bananas
• 30g (1oz) butter
• 4 sticks of celery, peeled and diced
• 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
• 1/2 christophene, deseeded, peeled and cut into 2cm (3/4 inch) dice (optional)
• 750ml (1 pint 7 fl oz) chicken or vegetable stock
• 1 tsp thyme leaves
• 1 tsp salt, to taste
• chunky bread, to serve
• natural yogurt
• leaves from a large sprig of mint, roughly chopped
1. Cut the ends from the bananas, cut through the skins down the edges and then put them in a bowl and cover with just-boiled water. Leave to steep for about 15-20 minutes. Put a medium saucepan of water on to boil. Drain the bananas and gently ease them out of their skins, using a small, sharp knife if you need it, then cut into 3cm (1¼ in) lengths and put into boiling water in a saucepan. When the bananas are tender (about 5 minutes), drain and mash them roughly: you want some chunky bits and bobs in this soup.
2. Melt the butter in a medium heavy-based saucepan and in it soften the celery, chilli and christophene, if using. Add the stock, thyme and cooked banana. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Season with salt.
3. Ladle into bowls and serve with a swirl of yogurt and some chopped mint leaves. Serve with the bread (Jamaicans would eat hard-dough bread)
and there you have a meal.