I will tell you unabashedly, that I got the idea for this soup from the fantastic Marcus Samuelsson, chef/owner of The Red Rooster in Harlem. Watching him cook is like watching a flawless ballet performance, but with sharp knives and flames. He also happens to have spectacularly, nuanced taste buds. When The Goddess saw his recipe, which is vegetarian in nature, The Goddess thought “what a great vehicle for leftover turkey!” And she, of course, as is the nature of Goddess’s, correct! You can see the original recipe here. This is her adaptation.
Sweet Potato-Black Bean Soup with Turkey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (or bacon fat)
- 1 large onion , chopped (I used 6 ounces of frozen chopped onions)
- 1 bell pepper, coarsely chopped (I used about 1 cup frozen bell peppers strips)
- 2 teaspoons dried minced garlic (or 4 large cloves fresh minced)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon finely crushed dried Mexican oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 8-10 cups of chicken or vegetable broth (I used turkey broth)
- 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into medium dice (about 1/2-inch cubes)
- 3 (15 oz.) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- zest and juice of 1 large lime
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 small jalapeño pepper, very finely minced if you like some heat
- 3-4 cups coarsely shredded cooked turkey or chicken
- 1/4 cup very finely minced fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup very finely minced red onion
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 avocados, diced
Heat the oil over medium heat in pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions and bell peppers (no need to thaw them, just toss them in the pot); cook, stirring occasionally until translucent. Add the garlic, bay leaves, cumin, oregano, coriander and allspice.
Add the sweet potatoes, and stir for a couple of minutes. Pour the broth in and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are not quite tender, about 15 minutes. Add the beans, lime zest and juice and jalapeño. Simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Stir in the cooked turkey and the cilantro. Cook for 1 minute. Taste and correct seasoning.
Serve topped with the red onion, ad dollop of sour cream and avocado, if you wish.
NOTE: If you wish, substitute cubed butternut squash for all or part of the sweet potatoes.
Sweet Potato-Black Bean Soup with Turkey Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.
Isn’t that simple? It’s a riot of flavor and a great way to use up leftover turkey or chicken. The Goddess thinks she would like to use some leftover Cuban Pork Roast or Lechon Asado instead of the poultry sometime…why not? If you wish, add some frozen sweet corn, too. This went together in about 30 minutes and that included peeling and cutting up the sweet potatoes.
The Goddess thinks it’s the lime that makes this soup sing. The lime balances the sweetness of the sweet potatoes and the acid hits high notes with the meat and beans. One other thing I want to mention, is the use of flavor concentrates. Minor’s® makes a Lime-Cilantro Flavor Concentrate that is excellent. The Spice Mill has it, as well as some other great flavor concentrates (roasted garlic is a favorite!). If you wanted to use that here, use 3-4 teaspoons for the pot of soup. Taste and adjust according to your tastes. It works great for just such things as this soup and is excellent to drop into cream sauces.
What makes this so good and so very, very easy is the use of frozen onions and peppers. There is no compromise in flavor or nutrition, so it’s the perfect after-all-the-hooplah-weeknight-meal. And a great way to use up those little bits of turkey that are still lingering around or that you’ve frozen for later use. It’s later, okay? Some good Sour Cream Cornbread, hot out of the oven, would be the perfect foil for this lean and nutritious soup.