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Sweet Potato Red Pepper and Coconut Milk Soup

Posted Sep 05 2012 3:15am

 It’s fall and it’s soup season. Right? Well, sort of.

It’s usually hotter in San Diego in September than it is all summer long and this September has been no exception. It’s been in the mid to high 80s in San Diego. Almost as hot here as it was in Aruba but I’m not complaining.

Perfect time to make soup then. I may as well sweat while I slurp.

This is the easiest soup you’ll ever make.

Three ingredients: 1 huge sweet potato, 1 red pepper, 1 can of coconut milk.

And they go from microwave to blender to bowl to mouth in 15 minutes flat.

I used to be intimidated by soup-making and for good reason. If you read some recipes, I’d need to use at least 17 vegetables, some of which are roasted, others that must be sauteed.

Long lists of herbs, spices, and pinches and dashes of this and that. I’d have to be rich to afford all the spices I’m supposed to incorporate into one recipe.

Then, it all must be placed in a stockpot so large that I’ll never own a pot that humongous because where does one store something like that when not in use the other 364 days a year?

Then I’d have to simmer the soup for a mere six hours, stirring frequently of course, virtually chaining me to the house for the day. But I bet that soup is worth it.

This soup is so worth it, but the opposite of complicated. Peel, dice, and steam the sweet potato in the microwave, which took 14 minutes in my microwave. You could boil the potatoes, or use previously baked sweet potatoes with flesh scooped out but I go for the quickest method, which is quickly steaming them in the micro.

Place the cooked sweet potato cubes, chunks of red pepper, and can of coconut milk in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy, which takes about one minute.

Thick, bisque-like, rich, creamy soup in 15 minutes with 3 ingredients and no hassle.

I didn’t even season it, which was a happy accident. I was midway through blending the mixture and I stopped the blender to taste it and I immediately thought, Oh, this needs salt.

If you buy commercially-prepared soup or read most soup recipes, they add or call for so much salt that I can feel myself blowing up with water retention just by reading the recipe. My body does not do well with excess sodium and I’m wary to salt food and think carefully before I do, but even I thought the soup would benefit from some salt.

But I got sidetracked while blending and tasting because Scott asked me a question and when I returned to the blender about five minutes later, I tasted the soup again and I loved it, as is.

 My palate had adjusted and had keyed into the pure and simple flavors present: Sweet and candy-like steamed sweet potato, the slight heat from the red pepper, and the rich and creamy coconut milk.

Why would I want to mask that with a bunch of salt? So I didn’t.

For Scott’s portion, I sprinkled his bowl with a pinch of Kosher salt and a couple twists of freshly cracked black pepper and stirred them in before garnishing with a dollop of sour cream, and a tablespoon of finely diced red pepper.

He said it tastes like lobster bisque without the lobster. He also said Zucchini Banana Bread tasted like chocolate bread so I don’t always put a lot of stock in what he says, but in the case of this stock, err soup, he’s right. It’s thick, creamy, dense, and very bisque-like. If you like thick soups that have fullness and body, this is your soup. If you like thinner, brothy, or more watery soups, this is the opposite.

I especially love the coconut milk flavor that peeks through. It’s present but not in your face. If you’re not into coconut, that’s a shame. However, the coconut milk can be replaced with cream, cashew milk, or another milk. You can even use a one-half to one-cup Greek yogurt and a splash of water rather than using coconut milk. Use something thicker and with some density and fullness and save the thin and watery skim milk for something else.

Not only do I appreciate the ease of this recipe, but I appreciate the batch size. I like leftovers; I think most busy moms do, but I don’t want to eat the same soup for days and days, sort of like the never-ending Thanksgiving leftovers, and most soup recipes make so much that you’re eating it forever.

This recipe makes about one quart, four cups. When you’re ready to reheat it, pour it into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and heat for about one minute in the microwave before serving. Easy.

You can get creative and adapt the recipe by steaming some carrots or squash with the sweet potato or add some soaked cashews to the mixture for extra protein, richness, and creaminess.

Season it in a savory direction with anything from curry to garlic and onion powder, or go spicy by adding chili powder or cayenne pepper. Go sweeter or more fall-like with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, or pumpkin pie spice. There’s really no way to mess up a sweet potato.

I hope the weather stays in the 80s because I get the best of both worlds. Summertime temps and fall soup.

    Print This!    

Sweet Potato Red Pepper and Coconut Milk Soup (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, microwave-friendly)

Makes about one quart, 32 to 36 ounces (4 to 4 1/2 cups)

1 extra-large sweet potato (or 2 to 3 smaller sweet potatoes), peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes

about 3/4 cup water

1 large red bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped into large pieces

one 14-ounce can coconut milk (I used Trader Joe’s Light Coconut Milk)

optional seasonings – any included should be seasoned to taste : salt and pepper; red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, chili powder; cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg; garlic powder, onion powder, curry powder

optional additional vegetables – while steaming the sweet potato, steam carrots, squash, zucchini, or other vegetables on hand

Place sweet potato cubes in a large microwave-safe bowl or baking dish, add 3/4 cup water or until the water comes up about 1-inch high in the base bowl (the cubes do not need to be fully submerged in water; water simply needs to be present to create steam), cover bowl with plastic wrap, and heat on high-power for 13 to 15 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are very fork-tender (microwave temperatures and strengths vary and so will cooking times). Transfer cooked potatoes to a high-speed blender or food processor, add the red pepper, coconut milk, and blend on high power until very smooth and creamy.

Taste the soup and wait five minutes before seasoning it, and if desired season to taste (Note: I tasted the soup and thought it was bland and that it needed salt and pepper but did nothing and got sidetracked.  After going back to it five minutes later, my palate had adjusted and I realized I preferred the pure flavors of potatoes, peppers, and coconut milk and added nothing; however, season to your taste preferences. Adding a pinch of salt and pepper to each individual’s bowl before serving works fine).

Optionally, garnish with finely diced red peppers, a drizzle of coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut butter, or olive oil; fresh herbs, nuts or seeds, dollop of sour cream or yogurt; a dash of salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger. Store soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop. Soup will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or can be frozen for up to 3 months.

 

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Sweet Potato Graham Cracker “French Toast” Sticks – Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. They won’t win a beauty contest but they are delicious and they’re how you make potatoes taste like French toast sticks. That homily coating is ground up graham crackers, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

Do you like sweet potatoes?

Do you make soup?

Feel free to link up your favorite recipes.

Thanks for the  Capresso Froth Plus Automatic Milk Frother Giveaway entries

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