Although it is more conventionally teamed up with lunch or supper, I ate it for breakfast this morning and can attest to its deliciousness even at that odd hour.
The persimmon has nothing to do with Jamaica - it was just staring at me with a gorgeous orange glow and I simply couldn't resist it's soft, juicy, sweet flesh in this dish. Known for its many medicinal uses, this native Chinese fruit is also rich in nutrients including beta-carotene, vitamin C and fibre. Persimmon is at its best from October through December.
Jamaican Plantain Soup with Persimmon - An Aromatic Delight
- 1 large yellow onion (the basis of all good soups), peeled and chopped
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 ripe plantains, peeled and roughly chopped (substitute ripe bananas)
- 1 persimmon, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups leek (substitute celery), chopped
- 4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock plus additional water if needed
- 1 heaping Tbsp fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
- 1 tsp allspice powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne powder or to taste
- 4 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- Sea Salt & black pepper to taste
There are plenty of suitable substitutions you can make in this dish and you certainly don't have to go out and track down persimmon, unless you want to. I have used green apple in place of persimmon in this soup and found it equally delicious.
Warm a large skillet or pot on stove over medium-low heat adding some olive oil. Sauté onion and ginger until onion begins to soften (about 5 minutes). I like to add spices - or at least a portion of the spices - to the onion while it cooks. The spices permeate the flesh of the onion well, making it an ideal flavour transporter. Toss in some (or all) of the allspice, cinnamon and cayenne at this stage, mixing them around with the onion and ginger.
Add chicken or vegetable stock to the skillet along with sweet potato, plantain, persimmon and leek and bring mixture to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer with the pot covered for 10 to 15 minutes until potatoes are tender.
Purée ingredients in a blender until smooth and then return to skillet/pot. Stir in lime juice and adjust seasonings to taste. You can also adjust thickness of soup by adding water or more stock as desired.