Sweet Potato Chipotle Soup

I’ve developed a crush on sweet potatoes. They are sweet, mushy, earthy, and so handsome, especially when you break through the tough brown exterior to reveal that beautiful orange flesh. I’ve thought for a long time that sweet potatoes must get tired of being the stand-by date at the Thanksgiving table, usually only getting invited with marshmallows and loads of butter and maybe, on a good year, some pecans and coconut.

It’s time for the humble sweet potato to have a new partner. I nominate the chipotle pepper. Try this match and you’ll see that in moderation the smoky sauce from a can of chipotle peppers is just what the sweet potato needs to feel new and fresh and vibrant again.

Sweet Potato Chipotle Soup

2 medium sweet potatoes, about 1 ¼ pounds total
1 tablespoon butter OR olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 to 2 teaspoons (or more) adobo sauce from a can of chipotles en adobo
1 26 ounce container Swanson’s chicken stock
1 extra large Knorr chicken bouillon cube
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
salt to taste
¼ cup fined chopped fresh cilantro
garnish: sour cream or Mexican crema and tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pierce sweet potatoes with a sharp knife, place on a baking sheet and bake until very tender, about an hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Scoop flesh from potato and discard skins

In a dutch oven melt butter or olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until very soft and beginning to brown on the edges, about 10 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, coriander, and garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chicken stock, bouillon cube, adobo sauce, and sweet potato flesh. Cover and simmer 5 minutes.

Working in small batches, puree soup in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Return soup to dutch oven, stir in fresh lime juice, sugar (if necessary), and salt to taste. Add more adobo sauce if you prefer more heat. Thin with additional chicken stock, if desired. Stir in chopped fresh cilantro and simmer for several minutes until flavors are blended.

Garnish with a spoonful of sour cream or Mexican crema and a handful of tortilla chips.

Notes on the recipe:
1. I think roasting, rather than simmering the sweet potatoes makes them sweeter and more flavorful. Or maybe I’m just too lazy to peel and cube the tubers.
2. Cilantro is NOT optional, at least at my house. Scott only thinks he hates it, but what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. He liked the soup and I loaded it up with fresh cilantro. Bobby Flay once said, “If you don’t like cilantro, try it again.” And so it is. It took me at least 10 times of trying it again, and now i LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I’m thinking (hoping) Scott might come on board soon because I am kind of tired of telling him the green stuff is parsley.

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