Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Creamy Orange Soup that's not Butternut Squash!

I would eat soup twice a day everyday if I could. And what's stopping me? I admit though, I'm not very good at cleaning up leftovers and this quality is not helpful in the presence of a big pot of soup. JJ often shows up for dinner to find that I've somehow 'accidentally' made a vat of soup yet again and we both feel daunted by the task ahead... soup for dinner, soup for lunch tomorrow, soup for a snack and then perhaps soup again for dinner the next day. I've taken the soups name in vain at that point and slop, onto Lula's kibble it goes. So clearly what I'm the need of, are easy and delicious soup recipes that make a small pot of soup. Then dinner is simple dreamy affair of soup, homemade biscuits or rolls (toast in a pinch) and a salad.  And I can do this several times a week, to feed my deep seated love for soup. So here is one of many recipes to come, featuring my good friend cumin and including a note on homemade broth. (For some ridiculous reason, I hadn't come to my senses on the vast superiority of homemade broth until last week and I vow to never go back.) This soup is jiff to throw together and gives you a wonderful creamy winter soup that's a change of pace from the ubiquitous butternut squash. We enjoyed at our family reunion in Yachats last month and everyone, small and tall alike, seemed to like it. Or at least they ate it...   Good luck!

Sweet Potato Soup
*** Remember to reserve all your veggies scraps for broth as you go thru this recipe.
-3 lg sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed.
-1 lg yellow onion, diced
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-1" piece of ginger, peeled and chopped finely.  (I've found using a spoon works best for peeling ginger).
-1 jalepeno, diced.
-1 quart veggie broth
-Zest of one small lime
-1 heaping tsp cumin
-1/2 tsp powdered ginger
-1/4 heaping tsp white pepper
-1/4 cup all natural creamy peanut butter
-1/2 cup low fat sour cream
-1 sm lime, juiced
-1 bunch cilantro, washed and coarsely chopped.
-Olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 or 2 T oil in your largest soup pot over low/med heat.  Add chopped onion, let breathe for 3-4 minutes, then add garlic, fresh ginger and jalepeno.  Cook over low heat for 10 min or until onions have softened nicely.  If your onions begin to brown, turn the heat down!  Add cubed sweet potatoes, broth, lime zest and spices.  I'd add about 1/2 tsp salt at this stage, adjust to your preferences.  Turn to High, bring to boil and then let simmer on Low for 30 minutes. Pull out your immersion blender (What's that? You don't have an immersion blender??  This is simply a must (!) and the one kitchen gadget I will ever try to force on you. I think they run about $40 and work like a dream boat on all kinds of assorted soups and sauces).  If you're hip to this modern luxury, blend until almost smooth.  Alternatively, remove soup in 2 cup amts and blend in your stand blender.  Good luck, this is very messy and tedious.  Now you'll really want that immersion blender. 

Stir in peanut butter, lime juice and sour cream.  Add salt and pepper to taste and a wee bit of cayenne if you like a kick. Like all soup, it's best if you can make it ahead of time to let it medley. I almost always find soup better the next day. But if it's time to serve, garnish with a dollop of greek yogurt, sprinkle generously with cilantro and enjoy!

*** Homemade broth. The truly easy version!

Check out your produce drawer. What do you have in there that's old and possibly funky? Gather what you have, discarding dirty vegetable ends and coarsely chopping. Rinse. You'll be starting a slop pile with these veggies. To the slop, you'll add onion peels and ends, potato peels (if they've been washed!), carrot peels, broccoli stems, cauliflower stems, radish greens, garlic peels... you get the idea. Now sacrifice just a few of your 'good' veggies.. half an onion, a few carrots, some celery. **This is the part that kept me, stupidly, from making my own veggie broth in the past. I thought why buy vegetables to turn into broth, when I just stock up on Organic Vegetable Broth at Grocery Outlet for $.99? But not everyone likes Gross Out like I do and not only can store bought broth be quite spendy, but it smells unpleasant. That's never a good thing. Ok, back to our homemade goodness.

It works best to give yourself a few days to build up your slop. I just have a plastic bag going and instead of composting scraps for a few days, into the bag they go. Now when you have good stash, heat a little oil in your soup pot. Add all your chopped 'good' veggies and cook over low/med heat for 15 minutes. This will help release fresh flavor in your broth. Then add slop and fill your pot to the brim with water. If you a growler on hand, it’s almost the perfect amt. Add any other dried or fresh herbs you have on hand... bay leaves, thyme, basil, oregano, marjoram and rosemary are good options. Don't worry about amts and add roughly 1 tsp salt. Bring to boil, then turn off completely and let sit overnight. Strain and pour into jars or tupperware. Freeze or refrigerate.

My freezer, happily full of veggie broth.

Lula keeping warm on a winter day just right for soup.


  1. Okay, slop? Really? How about scraps? Or trimmings? Run a scraper around that soup pot before you take a picture next time - much more appetizing looking. You want to get some browning action on your "good" veggies; that will add depth of flavor and color to your stock.

    Whom else, Mom

  2. LOVE the blog!!! need a sous chef [and a photographer who will scrape the sides of the soup pot before the snapshot?!?!?! Haha...yeah come on mounce! love your cooking anyways!

    whom else besides mom,
    stephie marie