Sweet potatoes make great soup. This soup is thick and smooth, with little flecks of ginger to cleanse your palate a bit and work with the heat of the chiles to spice things up. This soup is a great example of the melding of cultures; it travels the world. It leans to the East in its flavoring, but there is the surprise of peanut butter, which takes us to Africa and the sweet potato itself takes us to the Incan Empire. Who knew you could travel the world with a bowl of soup? I love to make several pots of soup on Sunday; I freeze some and put some in the fridge to feast on during the week. This soup, like many soups, is much better reheated and most soups will keeps at least 2 or 3 days in the refrigerator. This is a thick, rib-sticking kind of soup, with just a bit of spicy heat (or more depending on how much of the chile flakes you add). Just the thing to have in your fridge, to reheat on a frigid, cold winter night, such as this.
Spicy Sweet Potato Soup
- 1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
- 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
- 1 tablespoon butter or oil
- 1 onion, sliced or chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 1/2 sweet potatoes (about 2 large), peeled and chunked
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red chiles flakes
- 3-4 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup peanut butter (either crunchy or creamy)
- 1 large lime (about 3-4 tablespoons juice)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 large plum tomato, seeded and diced
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
Combine the crème fraîche and lime zest; cover and refrigerate.
Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until softened. Add potatoes, stock, cumin, coriander, chilies and ginger. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes, partially covered, or until potatoes are soft. Puree soup in batches in blender or use an immersion blender (right in the pot); return the purée to the pot.
Whisk the peanut butter into soup. Squeeze juice of lime into soup and add the sesame oil. Taste and add salt as needed. Reheat until hot, if necessary.
Ladle into warmed bowls. Add a dollop of crème fraîche, some of the cilantro and top with a few diced tomatoes.
NOTE: If the soup is too thick for you, thin with additional broth or water.
Spicy Sweet Potato Soup Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.
Just one note, I love to add about 1/3-1/2 cup diced, fresh mango just before I purée the soup. The mango is a wonderful compliment to the sweet potato and it adds a touch of sweetness that works as a foil for the sharpness of the lime.
Can we talk about soup stock? The Goddess Cooks, and when she cooks, there’s usually a stock-based sauce or soup on the menu. By all means, make stock from scratch if you feel the urge, because it is fantastic. But sometimes you just don’t have time or you need stock right now or just a small amount of stock. And let’s be honest, the canned and boxed stuff is just not that great. I no longer have any cans (or boxes) of broth in my pantry. I use soup bases that I purchase at, you got it, The Spice Mill. These are the bases that restaurants use. The first ingredient isn’t salt; it’s chicken or beef or pork or clam or whatever the base is. There is indeed added salt, but if you stick with the proportions indicated and correct the seasoning at the end, I don’t think you’ll find the soup or sauce to be too salty. If doing a reduction sauce, you reduce first, then add the base according to the liquid remaining. If we’re having chicken with gravy, then I add a bit of chicken base to the water I cook the potatoes in. I drop some base into rice or pasta-cooking water, or marinades or salad dressings. These bases are very versatile and delicious, just please don’t use bouillon cubes…enough said.
Another thing… I’d like you think about purchasing an immersion blender. In the last 10 years or so, they’ve come a long way, baby. I think they are much safer to use (watch that you don’t melt the cord!) than a blender or food processor and you can purée the soup in the pot it was cooked in. Clean-up is a cinch; the bottom comes off and you can swish it around in some good soapy water, rinse it and dry it, reattach to the top and store it. Done! Mine is a Cuisinart (it’s red…The Goddess loves red), but I believe there are other brands. Is there a brand you have had a good experience with…please share? The Cuisinart has a pretty powerful little motor, certainly enough power to more than purée anything I’ve used it for. By the by, I don’t receive any sort of compensation for this recommendation. It’s based solely on my own experience with this product.
We like thick soups like this served with a grilled cheese or some sort of good, warm bread; a sour dough with black olives or walnuts would be terrific. I made the grilled cheese sandwiches in the waffle iron. I used a great melting cheese that I get at the Polish deli (Fontina works well or brie), some Swiss and cheddar. I like using the waffle iron, as the sandwich tends to get crispy and the cheese melts beautifully, but they don’t burn. Besides, what else is your waffle iron doing these days? Eat up and stay warm.