Sweet Potatoes – Not Just for Thanksgiving

As more and more Americans are trying to find ways to get more whole, nutritious foods into their diets, many are branching out and trying things that might otherwise be reserved for specific purposes. Take the sweet potato for example. For years, this vegetable has been prepared as a sweet side dish during our most gluttonous holiday of the year- Thanksgiving. Whether cooked into a Sweet Potato Pie or baked in a casserole topped with mini marshmallows, this vegetable has long adorned the holiday tables of many an American family. I’d like to invite you now to try this root vegetable in another incarnation. I like to use sweet potatoes to make soup.

Sweet potatoes in soup was not my creation. When Sean (my husband) and I went on our honeymoon 10 years ago, we ate a bowl of this in Disney World. I was never a fan of sweet potatoes and would rebel should anyone dare to put them on my plate but, on this particular occasion, my throat was sore and soup was the only thing I could imagine eating. The only soup on the menu utilized sweet potatoes as the main ingredient so, in desperation, I ordered it. That soup was the most heavenly soup I have ever eaten and last year, I decided to try and recreate it. While I haven’t been able to do that, my recipe is tolerable and my husband and I actually enjoy it quite a bit. Now that the weather has turned a bit colder, tonight seemed like as good a time as any to prepare this soup. Be warned, it looks like baby food. I can’t lie to you about that but it is good and it will warm you up when things are chilly outside so here is my recipe:

Sweet Potato Soup
serves 4

2 large sweet potatoes (baked)
1 tbs butter
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
cumin
chili powder
cinnamon
salt and pepper
1 to 1 1/2 cups of GOOD chicken broth like Kitchen Basics brand
milk or cream (optional)

  1. I baked the sweet potatoes in the oven because I think this caramelizes the sugars in the potato. Is this true? I have no idea but it’s in my head that it does so this is how I prepare them for the soup.
  2. I take the potatoes out to cool and while this is going on, I melt the Tbs of butter in a saucepan over medium high heat and add the chopped onion and 1 minced clove of garlic.
  3. To this, I add 1/2 to 1 tsp of cumin, 1/8 to 1/2 tsp of chili powder, 1/2 tsp pf cinnamon, a generous pinch of salt and a couple of grinds of pepper. I let this cook over medium heat until the onions are soft but be careful not to burn the garlic as it will get bitter.
  4. When the onions are soft, I scrape the flesh from the sweet potatoes and add it to the saucepan with the onions.
  5. To this, I add the chicken broth. Please use good chicken broth. I used Swanson’s and it is just too weak to be useful in this situation. Kitchen Basics is the best but I was being cheap. Don’t make the same mistake.
  6. After I added the broth, I used my immersion blender to smooth together the potatoes and the onions. My taste leans towards a thicker consistency but you may prefer a thinner soup. If that is the case, just add more chicken broth. In the event that you don’t have an immersion blender, you may use a food processor or a regular blender.
  7. When using a regular blender, PLEASE BE CAREFUL. You must cover the top with a towel when blending hot liquids or else it will splatter and you will get burned. Not good! Be safe and spend the $20 on an immersion blender!!
  8. At this point, taste your soup. Is it spicy enough for you? If not, add a couple of shakes of tabasco. Make sure it is to your liking.
  9. At this time, you may add milk or cream if you like. It is quite good this way. Tonight, I just went for plain jane without milk and it was still good.

sweet potato soup.jpg

Serve this with a side salad and you have a wonderful, light, healthful dinner. It only takes about 30 minutes to put this together, not including the baking time for the potatoes.

As far as nutrition is concerned, you can’t go wrong with these little beauties. Sweet potatoes contain twice the daily recommended allowance of Vitamin A and nearly half the daily requirement of Vitamin C. It’s low calorie yet chock full of nutritious goodness. For more information on them, go HERE. Sweet potatoes are such a wonderful vegetable and they don’t have to be slathered in butter and smothered in brown sugar and mini marshmallows. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but if you’re looking for a different way to prepare these, give this a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Nicole - Looks wonderful! I’ll be making this as soon as the weather cools off just a bit!

Sophie - I’ve had butternut squash soup, but I’ve yet to try sweet potato soup! I’m missing out :D. It sounds so tasty! I’d like to include your recipe on our blog, please let me know if you’re interested :).

Sophie, Key Ingredient Chief Blogger
sophie@keyingredient.com

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