Being in the thick of winter this time of year here in Canberra (and I imagine anywhere else in the country, as well as the rest of the southern hemisphere), one's mind starts thinking about soupey-styled food fixings. Despite being quite aware of the incredibly facile nature of soup preparation, it's never been high on my list of things to cook up, especially when I can be easily sated with a killer grilled cheese sandwich. Nevertheless, what brought me down the soup route was the current abundance of sweet potatoes at the markets, their klepto-styled price and my total ignorance of what to do with them. Sweet potatoes are incredibly nutritious vegetables and you'd have to be crazy in the coconut to by-pass them at the markets when they're on special. Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants (glutathione, vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese) and dietary fibre, low in calories and are surprisingly beneficial to diabetics, arthritics, those with cardiovascular complaints and dare I say it, even smokers on account of their high vitamin A content. My previous encounters with sweet potatoes involved thanksgiving-styled preparation and, to be frank I wasn't too eager to relive that experience, so after a little bit of research (aka google) I found a recipe that appealed enough to try out, even with my soup-phobic ways.
Ingredients (modified according to my tastes)
4 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 large leek, sliced
1 onion, diced
2 tbs olive oil
4 cups of water (didn't have any stock on hand)
2 tbs sour cream (some extra for serving)
1 tsp cumin seeds, dry roasted
1 tsp chilli paste (can substitute it with equal amounts of dried chilli flakes)
salt & pepper (according to taste, i went a little nuts here to temper the sweetness)
In a large pot add the sliced sweet potatoes, leeks, olive oil and diced onion to the water and simmer for a good half hour until the potatoes are soft and break apart. Using a fork roughly mash up the sweet potatoes until you get a rustic looking puree. At this point you can add the chilli paste and the dry roasted cumin seeds to give the soup a little kick as well as the S&P. Let the soup simmer away for a further 10 mins or so where you'll start to get a more homogenous mixture and you may opt to add dollop or two of sour cream as I did. Serve piping hot into a bowl and add an extra bit of sour cream if you desire. Make sure you have crusty bread on hand to mop up the soup. Bon appetit!