Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sweet Potato Soup with Greens

I love soup. I could probably prepare and enjoy a soup every night of the year. A base of some good broth, whatever produce we brought home from the farmers' market plus maybe some meat ~ that's the soup. And it's always good. This winter season I have been attached to making soup this way: lay down a base flavor ~ usually starting by simmering a chopped onion in the broth; then a veggie such as stewed tomatoes, roasted winter squash, carrots, or in this case, roasted sweet potatoes with the skins. I puree that. Then I add a chopped or chunked veggie that adds texture. This often includes a dark leafy green. We eat a lot of dark leafy greens. They are oftentimes delicious in soups. Last night's ingredients were intended for a soup to take to a friend who recently had a healthy baby boy. But we sure did enjoy it. ;-) The three different dried peppers cut the sweetness of the potatoes three different ways. Leftover, it was probably even better.

Sweet Potato Soup with Greens
serves 3-4 depending on your sweet potatoes, the water you add, and the size of your bowls
A quart of good chicken broth ~ homemade or of equal quality, or homemade veggie broth
A mess of sweet potatoes roasted at 400 until soft, cooled, then sliced into 1/2 inch pieces ~ as many as you can fit between your two hands without dropping them (before they're roasted) ~ I used "Japanese sweet potatoes", but use your favorite, or what's on hand. In America, Sweet Potato = Yam = same thing.
Three large cloves of garlic ~ two crushed well with the side of your chef's knife, the other sliced thin
Dark leafy greens ~ I used what they call a "braising mix" at the farmers' market = an assortment of young kales, collard, chard, etc. ~ equal in precooked volume to the potatoes, chiffonade
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
*Fresh* red pepper flakes
Smoked paprika
Sea salt to taste ~ start with 1/2 teaspoon
Water as needed

In a pot or dutch oven, warm the chicken broth slowly up to a boil. Add the crushed garlic and simmer until the garlic is soft. Add the sweet potato slices and simmer. Puree till smooth (there's that handheld blender again!). Toss in greens and garlic. Cover. Simmer until greens get a little darker than just wilted. Add vinegar, spices, and sea salt, adjusting as needed. If it's too thick, add some water and bring back up to temperature. I think it's better at the consistency of thick soup, as opposed to a soupy baked potato... This is hearty.
Serve with a salad and some craggy hunks of bread to dip in the soup.

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