Updated: Nov 19, 2021
Originally, I planned this soup to be based around jackfruit, but Ooops! Turns out, I thought my can of banana blossom was jackfruit. To be fair, both the jackfruit and banana blossom I purchase come from the same brand which has very similar packaging on the label and size of the can. That said, when I pulled out the can ready to include in my dish, and saw it was a completely different ingredient than I "wanted," I didn't have high hopes it would be a good substitute for my plan here. All I can say is thank goodness I messed that up! The banana blossom is fantastic in this recipe and honestly looks like shredded chicken for your eat-eating folk! Previously, I had always heard of banana blossom as a great "fish" alternative, but truly, I thought it looked and tasted more like shredded chicken in this soup (of course take that with a grain of salt (pun intended); I haven't had shredded chicken in several years so...).
This soup is a great mix on Mexican-Spanish flavors and is citrus forward so it's nice and light for summer while still giving you heady doses of vegetables (which I grill for more summer "flair") and spices. I used a local (Co-Op Sauce) hot sauce that I adore (and that supports the community!) but feel free to sub your personal favorite - really any sauce with some heat & smoky flavors will present well here.
Sustainability Spotlight: Usually a "throw away" item, banana blossom is the a tear-drop shaped flower at the end of a banana fruit cluster. Heretofore, it had not been materially utilized as an ingredient in food recipes nor widely accessible by home cooks and was simply discarded when the banana clusters were harvested. But, it turns out, the banana blossom packs a powerful and potent nutritional profile. Not only does the banana blossom have properties that boost mood and reduce anxiety, the flower can increase the levels of red blood cells and potentially combat iron deficiency anemia (definitely helpful for vegans and women alike whom have a tendency (more than men) to have periods of anemia during their monthly cycle. The best part for the ladies? - banana blossom can aid in reducing symptoms of PMS (like abdominal cramps, or mood changes) and increase lactation flow for breast-feeding. These conclusions are still being researched, but the initial findings are very promising for women's health especially! So, using banana blossoms more not only makes the waste less for this flower (using the full of the banana harvesting process to our benefit) but also can aid in improving our health naturally. That's worth incorporating into our recipes at home, no? Facts derived from Netmeds.com.
2 tbsp avocado oil
1/2 large red onion (chopped)
1 large carrot (not peeled & chopped)
3 garlic cloves (minced)
1 can banana blossoms (rinsed, drained & coarsely chopped)
2 tbsp hot sauce (I used Co-Op Sauce Chchcherrybomb)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp each of the following spices:
2 poblano peppers (grilled, then de-seeded & chopped)
1 bell pepper (grilled, then de-seeded & chopped)
1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
2 limes (one zested; both juiced)
4 cups vegetable broth (or stock)
1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips
1 handful cilantro (chopped)
In a large Dutch-oven (5-quart), heat avocado oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add onion and sauté until golden (~4 minutes).
Next, add garlic, carrots and banana blossom to the Dutch oven; sauté for another 6-7 minutes.
While the indoor vegetables are cooking, pre-heat grill on high. Add poblano & bell pepper directly onto grates and grill 2 minutes each side until both looks slightly charred / blistered. Remove from heat and bring inside; set aside to cool slightly.
Add all seasonings (hot sauce through cayenne pepper) to the vegetables in the Dutch oven, and stir until fragrant (~1 minute).
Now, add stock to deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up all the browned bits in the bottom. Now add the fire-roasted tomatoes and bring the mixture to a boil.
While you are waiting for the soup to come to a boil, de-stem & de-seed the bell pepper and poblanos. Chop and add to the soup.
Once the soup comes up to a boil, add the crushed tortilla chips and 1 lime (juiced); reduce heat, cover and simmer ~8 minutes.
Remove soup from heat and stir in lime zest, other lime, and cilantro.
Serve soup ladled into bowls with extra cilantro and lime wedges. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did (even on a hot night). The soup enhances as the flavors marinate and will make lovely lunches for the week as well; enjoy!
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie