Getting your kids interested in food and cooking really can be as simple as asking, "Hey, do you want some mangos?"
To which my 6-year-old son, an otherwise bored participant in the grocery shopping that day, responded with an all-too-teenager-like, "Sure."
As I carried the mangos back to the cart, the sum of my plans for them amounted to peeling, cubing and dumping them on my son's plate. Apparently he'd come up with other ideas.
"How about if we cut them up and turn them into a soup? A really thick one. And we can add chicken and some spices, like cinnamon and curry," he said. "And there would be chunks of chicken and mango in the soup. Can we do that?"
That's when you find yourself staring and blinking at your kid. And finally stammer, "Um. Sure."
Point being, of course, that giving children a little influence in the food that comes into the house can go a long way to making them willing to get involved with it once it's there. A few extra minutes spent involving children while at the grocery store can pay real dividends at dinner.
This recipe is the simple, weeknight-friendly soup that resulted from Parker's grocery store inspiration. He helped at every stage, from peeling the mangos to cooking the chicken. The result is a delicious and healthy soup-as-meal for spring.
To keep the flavor of the mango sweet and fresh, it is barely cooked. The flavor of lime and curry go wonderfully with it. The soup also could be made dairy-free by substituting coconut milk for the crème fraîche.
Curried MangoChicken Soup
Start to finish: 30 minutes
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 mangos, peeled, flesh cut away from the pits, finely chopped
2 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 cup crème fraîche, plus extra for garnish
Juice of 1/2 lime
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
In a large saucepan over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the curry powder and cinnamon, then heat for 30 seconds. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer the onion as well as any oil and seasonings in the pan to a blender. Add the mango and 1 cup of the broth to the blender, then purée until smooth. Set aside.
Return the empty saucepan to medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and sauté until browned and cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the remaining broth and scrape the bottom of the pan to release any stuck bits and seasonings. Bring to a simmer.
Pour the mango purée back into the saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir in the crème fraîche and lime juice, then season with salt and pepper. Garnish each serving with cilantro and an extra dollop of crème fraîche (if desired).
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 359 calories; 129 calories from fat (36 percent of total calories); 14 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 69 mg cholesterol; 30 g carbohydrate; 28 g protein; 3 g fiber; 722 mg sodium.