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Sweet Potato Red Pepper Soup

Posted Dec 22 2010 12:00am

“Money is the root of all evil, and yet it is such a useful root that we cannot get on without it any more than we can without potatoes.” ~ Louisa May Alcott, American novelist (1832-1888)

Whenever anyone talks about a restaurant offering “comfort foods,” I have to admit that I cringe. What first comes to mind is heavy, fat-laden dishes that are as far from healthy as possible. Cooking at home, however, can be a totally different story.

The first comfort food dish that I think of making at home is this Sweet Potato Red Pepper Soup. It includes holiday flavors, warm color, and is rich without being fatty. Using a roasted red pepper from a jar makes preparation very quick and easy and doesn’t sacrifice much flavor. It makes an ideal lunch soup served with a piece of crusty bread on the side.

Sweet Potato Red Pepper Soup
Serves 4
Time: 35 minutes

½ cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Pinch of black pepper
4 cups vegetable broth (full flavor)
1 large peeled and chopped sweet potato
1 large roasted red bell pepper, seeds and skin removed, chopped
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce to garnish

Soften the onion in the olive oil over medium heat, being careful to not let the onion brown, for about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, pepper, broth, sweet potato, bell pepper, and cayenne pepper (if using), and bring to a boil. Continue to boil, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potato is soft, about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool until the soup is no longer hot, but may still be warm. This is important to prevent burns if the soup splashes while being pureed.

Puree the soup with an immersion blender, if you have one, or transfer in batches to a regular blender, filling the blender container no more than ½ full at a time. Process on high until the soup is creamy smooth, holding the lid securely in place.

Just before serving, return the puree to the pot to reheat, stirring constantly to prevent eruptions that may burn or create a mess on the stove. Add water to thin if the soup is too thick (the amount of added water, if any, depends on how much broth evaporated while boiling).

Ladle into bowls and garnish with a float of whole berry cranberry sauce.

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