Aztec Corn Soup with Yucca and Plantains

Serves 6-7 / Plantains, or plátanos, are a starchier, milder version of their close relatives, bananas. Serve slices of fried plantain as a side dish to this hearty soup, reprinted with permission from The Purple Kiwi Cookbook by Karen Caplan (Frieda's, 2001).

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup chopped carrot
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces yucca root (also called cassava), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 plantain, peeled and chopped
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen and thawed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

1. Melt butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Sauté onion, celery, carrot, and garlic for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in yucca, plantain, broth, water, lemon juice, and orange peel. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, partially covered, for 30-40 minutes, or until yucca and plantain are tender.

2. Remove half the soup (about 3 cups) to a food processor or blender; cover and process until puréed. Return puréed mixture to saucepan and stir in corn, salt, and pepper. Cook until heated through.

3. Sprinkle each serving with cilantro or parsley and serve.