Monday, March 30, 2009

Sweet Potato Sopa De Lima

I cannot seem to get enough of soups and stews lately, and looking through my blog posts, this is quite obvious. But soon the grey clouds will go away, the temperatures will warm, and I will be making almost every meal on the grill. That’s just how it goes, here. :)

I found a recipe for Sweet Potato Sopa De Lima on The Spiced Life. I had only one sweet potato in the pantry and wanted to be rid of it, so I decided to give this a try. With a few alterations, of course (noted below in green type).

Laura used a combination of chicken and pork stock and, since I omitted the chicken to make this a vegetarian meal, I used vegetable broth. I subbed tomatillo salsa verde for the tomatillos, and where Laura used lemon juice, I used lime. And I thickened the final soup with a cornstarch and water mixture (Jack being the kind of guy who prefers his soups to be thick and “not dribbling down my chin”…)

The recipe didn’t indicate how many servings it made, and I would estimate that to be at least 8. But we ate it for 3 days, each time for lunch and with different garnishes, and each bowlful was enjoyed.

Now, I have to say that this tastes better the day after it is made, when the flavors have the opportunity to meld in the refrigerator a bit. The first day, I served the soup with steamed corn tortillas; the second day I served it over cooked brown rice; the third day I stirred the cooked brown rice directly into the soup. We preferred the rice additions. As for garnishes we used chopped fresh tomato and cilantro one day; chopped avocado, cilantro, and cheese the next; and a squiggle of thinned sour cream and some shredded lowfat cheddar on the third day. A nice way to add variety to the same soup when you enjoy it three days in a row!

This soup had a wonderful spicy-and-sour taste, and I do look forward to making it again before these cool, rainy days of spring are over.

Sweet Potato & Tomatillo Sopa De Lima

1 large red onion, chopped
1-2 T olive oil
6-8 garlic cloves, minced
1 large sweet bell pepper, chopped (I used orange bell)
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
1 t ground New Mexico Chile powder
1 large sweet potato (the orange kind), diced (I peeled it as well)

64 ounces low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
8 oz chopped tomatoes (or about half a can of diced tomatoes, drained a bit)
1 cup roasted and pureed fresh tomatillos (I used 1 cup of salsa verde)
2 -15 ounce cans of beans (I used one can of black beans and one can of green pigeon peas, drained and rinsed)
1 bag frozen corn, preferably organic, or equivalent fresh
1 1/2 cups shredded roasted chicken (I eliminated this)
1/3 - 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (I used lime juice; start with the smaller amount and add to taste)

cooked brown rice, optional (I would estimate cooking 2/3 cup of brown rice)

For garnish (any or all):
sour cream
monterey jack cheese
salsa verde

chopped tomatoes

chopped cilantro

chopped avocado

Heat a large soup pot or dutch oven on medium high heat and add the olive oil to heat it to shimmering. Add the onions with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic, jalapeno and bell pepper and cook another 3 minutes. Add the spices and the sweet potatoes and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the tomatillos (or salsa verde) and cook another minute or 2. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover and cook until sweet potatoes are tender (10-30 minutes, about, depending on how cooked the sweet potatoes got from the frying and how big the dices are).

Add the lime juice and taste for saltiness, sourness, and seasoning in general. Add the beans, corn, and shredded chicken and return to a simmer. Serve with garnishes.