Saturday, 13 November 2010

New Covent Garden November Soup of the Month - A ‘Soup-er’ Taste of the Jamaican Sun !


There was a time when I used to peruse the ingredients in New Covent Garden Soups before deciding whether or not to buy them. I don't even bother any more because some of the soup recipes that I supposedly don't like, like fish chowder or pumpkin soup, have turned out to be absolutely delicious when NCG have worked their magic on them. Despite never having considered the idea of making a soup containing sweet potato or Jamaican jerk, let alone the two together, I came to this month's Soup of the Month with an open mind and high expectations. They've never failed to tantalize my tastebuds so far but they are risktakers when it comes to inventing innovative and original ingredient combinations so you're never really sure what gastronomic surprises will be in store when you grab a new carton.

Speaking of the carton, I love the little Rasta sweet potato playing the drums on the packaging ! More importantly, so do the kids so it's a great way of encouraging them to eat more vegetables and that's always a bonus.

New Covent Garden do a great job of describing their soup : "Jerk seasoning is the jewel in Jamaican cuisine’s culinary crown. The ingredients list is often a mile long - in fact, the Jamaicans have a saying “Every mikkle mek a mukkle” – every little bit counts. So for NCG’s recipe, the soup pioneer’s dedicated chefs made sure to include the key, authentic jerk ingredients, such as ground pimento, cinnamon, nutmeg and thyme. To keep the heat under control they also added some cooling plum tomatoes and coconut; and whizzed them up with vibrant sweet potatoes and carrots."

I was slightly worried that this soup would be unpleasantly hot. I like spiciness but the trouble with soup is there's nothing accompanying it like rice or pasta to balance out the heat and reduce the fieriness. But I needn't have worried. NCG have hit the nail on the head again and left a nice warming sensation that is perfect for a chilly autumnal evening while taming it down with cooling coconut so it doesn't leave your mouth and throat on fire.

I love the versatility of this soup too as they tell us on the front of the carton that it can be used as a cooking sauce. There is a delicious sounding but extremely simple recipe on the NCG blog for pan fried chicken breasts coated with the soup and served with rice. Another instant supper that is healthy and delicious which is absolutely perfect for next week when I'll be getting in late from parent-teacher evenings !

Once again, my only slight disappointment is that this soup will disappear at the end of the month. I'll have to freeze a few cartons to see me through the winter months - or wait and see what next month's Soup of the Month is, as they just seem to be getting better and better !

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £1.99

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