The minute it gets cool and fall-ish like last weekend, my mind switches over to soup mode, and although it’s warming up again here where we live, it’s never too early to make a great soup…especially one that’s just as good warm as it is hot.
This spicy peanut and sweet potato soup checks a lot of boxes for me: 1. it’s savory, 2. it’s spicy, 3. it’s a teensy bit sweet, but in a savory sort of way (does that make sense?), 4. it has a teensy bit of Asian flair to it, too 5. also a teensy bit of an African flair to it, 6. I’ve used the word “teensy” too many times, haven’t I?, 7. leftovers freeze and reheat well, if you have any leftover, 8. it’s healthy, but it doesn’t necessarily taste “healthy,” 9. it’s easy to make, 10. it’s great for a light lunch or dinner, 11. it uses up a lot of items I have in my pantry and from my CSA box.
Need I say more?
But of course I will. The soup I’m speaking of is Ellie Krieger’s recipe for Nutty Sweet Potato Soup, which is from her book: The Food You Crave, and is one of my favorite cookbooks. I will point out that this has a different name in her book…for some reason…and is called Sweet and Spicy Peanut Soup, but is the same recipe as the link above. I’ve adapted this slightly to suit my taste and my thought that in this case, at least, more is more! I like to serve this with a side salad combining mixed greens, a fresh fruit like apple or pear, walnuts or pecans, a Fourme d’Ambert blue cheese crumble and a drizzle of a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
Here’s my adaptation of this lovely soup, and it makes 8 servings:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled and diced
1 large red bell pepper, peeled and diced
3 carrots peeled, trimmed and diced
1/2 teaspoon plus a pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, or 1 large, minced
2 teaspoons of peeled and minced fresh ginger
6 small or 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks (about 1 inch)
8 cups low sodium, low fat chicken broth
1-14 ounce can of no-salt diced tomatoes and their juice
3/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter, organic if possible, and lower salt if possible
1 1/2 Tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste after adding the peanut butter
chopped scallions, both white and greens for garnish, if desired
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and carrots, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened. Add the cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic and ginger, and stir for a minute, then add the sweet potatoes, broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil, stirring once to combine. Reduce the heat to medium low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are nice and tender. Remove from the heat and use an immersion blender to puree the soup (you can do batches in a regular blender, too, just be careful of the hot liquid and return it all to the big pot when done). Add the peanut butter and honey, return the pot to low heat and stir until the peanut butter has melted. Add the salt and taste for seasoning. Serve and garnish with the scallions if desired.