I bought a 3 pound bag of sweet potatoes a couple of weeks before Christmas and had only used a couple of them. I was on a soup kick anyway so I decided I would make sweet potato soup. A locally owned Latin restaurant makes the most delicious pureed sweet potato soup and I have made one similar to theirs many times and loved it, but this week I wanted something a little less time consuming with a rustic feel and a slightly smoky flavor. (Truth: I was feeling lazy and wanted a one pot soup without getting the blender out, but saying I wanted it to have a rustic feel sounds more continental than saying I just didn't want to wash the blender) The following is the result of that experiment. Because soup has no real recipe this is just a suggestion, but it is truly what I did to get the final product.
2 large yellow onions, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 small red bell pepper, sliced
2 ribs celery (only because I had them an they were wilting)
1/4 cup smoked ancho peppers cut into strips
1 can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 quart chicken broth
additional water if needed (I added about 2 cups
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon powdered chipotle pepper (substitute chili powder or reduce the amount if heat is an issue. I like it hot)
1/4 teaspoon powdered jalapeno (eliminate if you don't like hot stuff)
salt and pepper to taste
fresh lime for garnish
sour cream for garnish
In a large enamel pot heat the oil and add the onions. I cooked them very slowly stirring almost continuously so they would caramelize. When they were super soft and a lovely shade of dark brown I added the garlic and cooked it until it wilted then added the rest of the ingredients except for the garnishes. Let is cook until the sweet potatoes are tender adding additional water as needed. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, a squeeze of lime juice and an additional slice of lime just to make it pretty.
This is a very good soup and a delicious way to use sweet potatoes, especially if you are not a huge sweet potato fan. (I only eat them because they are good for me, not a fan of the taste or texture). The spicy chilis and the savory earthy herbs make this soup anything but sweet. One change I will make when I make it again (and I will do this again) is caramelizing the onions. The caramelization made the broth darker which was nice, but it did not add enough additional flavor to warrant the time it took to caramelize them. I will just cook them until they are wilted and have a little lighter broth.
I have eaten this 3 times now and it honestly improves with refrigeration and rewarming. The flavors got a chance to marry and meld and now every single vegetable is infused with the spices. I still have one more serving and it might go to the freezer to save for the next cold snap. It would be great to have this flavor treat without having to actually make it.
*If you wanted to make this a little heartier, I think some thinly sliced cooked pork or chopped chicken would be a delicious add-in, but I haven't actually tried it