It always makes me a little bit sad when I see a casserole dish of sweet potatoes smothered in gooey, sugary marshmallow – “extremely orange and incredibly gross” comes to mind. Not that I have a personal vendetta against marshmallow – it has its place. It’s just that its place is not glopped upon an unsuspecting pile of perfectly innocent tubers, completely obliterating their delicate sweetness. I think the sweet potato is much better enjoyed when it’s balanced by something savory and smoky, with a little bit of heat. Oh, and in related news, soup season is in full effect. It’s cold and rainy and begging for warm, comforting goodness.
Enter Homesick Texan’s chipotle sweet potato soup. This does the sweet potato justice – the sweetness perfectly counters the kick of the chipotles, and (as if you needed a cherry on top), this is 100% waistline-friendly and pairs well with New Year’s resolutions, provided you know when to say when with the sour cream.
One final note before you run off to make this – respect the chipotle and know what you can handle, spice-wise. I boldly, bravely (read: stupidly) threw in three whole chipotles, seeds and all, and had to add an extra sweet potato to mellow it out – even then, it was still quite hot. So follow the golden rule of “do as I say, not as I do,” and start with one, then see if you need more heat and/or remove the seeds to tone it down.
Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup
Yield: 12 servings
For the soup:
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 lbs sweet potatoes (five or six large), peeled and cubed in one-inch pieces
1 large onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 stalks celery, peeled and sliced
1 red or orange bell pepper, diced
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp fresh ginger
6 cups vegetable stock
1-3 chipotles in adobo sauce, sliced, seeds removed if you wish to reduce the heat
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
2 Tbsp lime juice
Salt & pepper to taste
Cinnamon-chipotle pecans (garnish, optional, to die for, recipe below)
For the pecans:
1 cup chopped pecans
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
Salt to taste
Make the pecans:
Melt butter in a small skillet over low heat. Stir in pecans and coat well with butter. Add cinnamon and chipotle powder and stir well. Cook for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
Make the soup:
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and bell pepper and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and onions are translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for two more minutes.
Add the sweet potatoes, vegetable stock, chipotles, cinnamon, and nutmeg and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and cook at a simmer for 20 minutes. Sweet potatoes should be tender and easily pierced with a knife.
If you have an immersion blender, turn off the heat and puree the soup in the pot. Otherwise, let cool and transfer in batches to a blender to puree. Return to pot and add lime juice, salt, and pepper. Serve with a dollop of greek yogurt, sour cream, or creme fraiche and a sprinkling of cinnamon-chipotle pecans.
Source: Slightly adapted from Homesick Texan