Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sweet potato, leek & cumin soup

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!


  1. Looks much more nourishing than the American thanksgiving style - marshmallows with your veges?! Yeesh.

  2. Yay Serenity> I can post comments on this comp-ooter! That soup looks really good and I bet it tastes even better knowing that it's good for you too. What's the deal with glutathione and vit A for smokers?

    Better find some time soon to cook something and post it on here too! :)

  3. mmm, delish serenity! might have to grab some s.p. at the market on the weekend ;D

  4. This sounds like the perfect meal on a cold winter night.

  5. Tell me about it Cindy! I once tried a variant that also included caramels, as well as the obligatory marshmallows! aaack!!! must say though, i did grow quite fond of the other stalwart of the thanksgiving dinner, pumpkin pie (with heaps of whipped cream too :P)

    m's nemesis according to that bastion of reliable information, the internet, smokers are vitamin A deficient and sweet potatoes are loaded with the stuff. not sure though whether the american style of s.p. consumption is nutritious enough.

    jfox let us know if you come up with a good recipe for s.p., i still have some left over.

    truffle, i agree with the hint of chilli this soup really did hit the spot for a nice, warm & fuzzy feeling in the tummy on a winter's night.

  6. hey serenity, went market-ing and grabbed some s.p. thanks to your good self! great idea!

    you mentioned that you went nuts with the s+p - i added some fried, diced up bacon on top :D yummy crispy salty

    my folks used to make a dessert with sweet potato. diced up and simmered in a rock-sugar or palm-sugar based 'soup'. might have to ask the internerd gods for a proper recipe!!

  7. 'mmmm....bacon' *drools* ala Homer Simpson. yum jfox, s.p. are fabulously versatile aren't they? ...and i bet your folks take on dessert is a heck of a lot more tastier and nutritious then the american thanksgiving styled dish.


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