Sweet potatoes add sunshine to soup

Posted Jan. 30, 2009, at 5:46 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 10:53 a.m.

This soup will help you keep your resolution to eat more vegetables this year. My friend Leslie Fuller in Cushing sent me this recipe; she found it on the Internet and it has become her and her husband, Ben’s, new favorite soup. It is full of bright color, and I felt like I was eating sunshine and vitamins. And so little fat. It is terrible to feel so virtuous about a meal.

It is just the thing to serve the family vegetarian; even a vegan can eat it! If you want a bit of meat, you can add chicken, shellfish such as shrimp or scallops, or even a little piece of haddock. The soup itself is so flavorful that it doesn’t need meat.

Besides the fact that it came so highly recommended, I saw right away that I had all the vegetable ingredients except the sweet potatoes stored from last summer’s garden. The sweet potatoes were an impulse buy and sometimes they do taste just right. I would not hesitate to substitute some nice richly flavored winter squash like a buttercup or Kubocha, or even a pumpkin for the sweet potato. Also, I used celeriac, which we grow instead of celery, which does not fare so well in our soil.

The only other item not already on a kitchen shelf was the vegetable broth. You can buy it if you want, but I wouldn’t because you can so easily make your own, as you may remember from last week’s column.

Like most soups, this one tastes better after a day or so, even after only six hours.

Send queries or answers to Sandy Oliver, 1061 Main Road, Islesboro 04848. E-mail: tastebuds@prexar.com. For recipes, tell us where they came from. List ingredients, specify number of servings and do not abbreviate measurements. Include name, address and daytime phone number.

Sweet Potato Soup

Makes 8-10 servings.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 large stalks celery, chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon dried thyme

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

2 large carrots sliced thinly

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes or 2 home canned pints

5 cups vegetable broth (or water)

1 cup green beans, cut into inch pieces

5 cloves minced garlic

Red pepper flakes (optional)

Salt and pepper

Heat oil in your soup pot at medium heat. Sauté onion, celery and herbs until vegetables are tender, then add sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, juice and all, and broth. Bring to boil, then reduce temperature and simmer until vegetables are tender, about half an hour. Add green beans, garlic and red pepper, if desired, and simmer briefly. Taste and adjust flavor with salt and pepper.

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