Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sweet Potato Soup

What a weekend!  With school Halloween parades, basketball games, bathroom remodeling, trunk or treating, and dinner out with friends it's been non-stop action around here.  And I'm exhausted.  For more reasons than just those, which is unfortunate for me.  Friday morning's visit to the dentist for a routine cleaning turned into a 6 hour dental work marathon which resulted in my diet being restricted to soft foods only.  No Halloween candy!  How can I possibly look at those peanut butter cups and milk duds all day long and not steal them from my kids' bags?

There is only so much applesauce, oatmeal and yogurt a girl can eat and I was getting HUNGRY.  And more than a little annoyed that I couldn't eat the great foods I was making for my family (herb roasted pork loin and jambalaya...drool...).  So I decided to suck it up and embrace all the things I could eat and make them as tasty as I could.  Soups, smoothies, and puddings here I come.

This sweet potato soup really was a complete accident of a soup.  Not having the energy to go to the grocery store and pick up soup basics like carrots which I was completely out of, I simply googled recipes until I found one that I actually had all the ingredients for.  I found this sweet little (well maybe not so little, but not one I'd have reason to frequent often) blog called Shiksa in the Kitchen.  Kosher food!  Now, I'm a Catholic Italian girl from South Jersey, kosher food is not my thing.  But I had great friends growing up that were Jewish and I've attended a bat mitzvah or two in my time.  One thing my friends taught me is that Jewish food is awesome- challah... brisket... kugel...mmm.  So what the heck, I was hungry and it looked like a good recipe, so I decided to give it a try.

At first glance, the ingredients in this soup look crazy and you may think there's no way all these completely unrelated ingredients can come together and make something wonderful, but have faith friends.  I wouldn't steer you awry.  For such an easy soup to make, there is great depth of flavor and you will be satisfied right to your very soul.  And hey, for an added bonus, if you're celebrating any of the fall Jewish holidays- it's kosher!

Sweet Potato Soup
Makes 6-8 servings
From the Shiksa in the Kitchen's post on the Joy of Kosher

1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large sweet potatoes (about 2 1/2 lbs), peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 smallish zucchini (1 lb), chopped
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth (you could use vegetable broth as well for a vegetarian soup)
1 tbs fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
3 seeded and chopped tomatoes or 1 can diced tomatoes
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
salt and pepper to taste

In a large stock pot, heat 1 tbs olive oil over medium-high heat.  To the oil, add the onions and saute until they are softened, 4-5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and continue to saute until the garlic is fragrant, 1 minute more.  Add the sweet potatoes and zucchini and stir for 3 additional minutes. 

Add the broth to the pot as well as the thyme, cumin and ginger.  Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium and simmer the soup for 20-25 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are almost completely soft.  Add the tomatoes and peanut butter and simmer for 5 additional minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  The original recipe called for cayene pepper as well.  I added a pinch of piment d'espalette instead but you could add up to 1/4 tsp cayenne or leave it out completely.

You could leave the soup as is and serve or puree it as much or as little as you like.  I was going for smooth, so I whizzed it up completely with my immersion blender.  I also think it would be nice with a few bites of sweet potato and zucchini left unpureed for texture.

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