Sweet Potato & Leek Soup

It’s October, so I can start making autumn/winter food now if I want, even if the temperatures don’t really match (the high today was 25º C / 77º F). This time of year you start seeing little huts all over town near the metro stations and at major intersections where they roast sweet potatoes and chestnuts and sell them in paper cones. The first time you buy a roasted sweet potato it looks pretty dubious, as it’s sort of blackened and shriveled and not at all appetizing to look at. The attendant wraps it in paper and lops off the top with a sharp knife, and inside the sweet potato is bright orange, steamy and soft and you eat it with a spoon.

I’m a big fan of the sweet potato in nearly all its incarnations (save the sickeningly sweet marshmallow topped version you see at Thanksgiving) and the flavor and nutritional value far outshines that of regular potatoes. This soup is a twist on traditional potato & leek soup and it can be spicy or not depending on your tastes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg sweet potatoes*, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 2 leeks, washed and trimmed (white and light green parts only), split lengthwise and chopped roughly
  • 1 medium onion, chopped roughly
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped roughly
  • 2-3 tsp raw ginger, chopped finely
  • 1 liter of chicken stock (or vegetable stock to make this recipe vegetarian-friendly)
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • fresh cilantro and smoked paprika for garnish

* If sweet potatoes aren’t in season or you’re looking for a little variety in your life, you can substitute 1 kg of any mixture of orange vegetables (pumpkin, carrots, etc.)

Instructions:

In a large soup pot, sauté leeks, onion, garlic and ginger in olive oil over medium heat until the onions are translucent. Add the chopped sweet potatoes, broth and spices. If the liquid doesn’t cover the vegetables add a bit more water. Simmer over medium heat until the sweet potatoes are soft, approximately 20-25 minutes. Purée the soup using an immersion blender (or mini-pimer as we call it here) until it’s smooth. Serve immediately with a bit of smoked paprika sprinkled on top and some freshly chopped cilantro.

Servings: Six, approx. 206 calories.

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