Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sweet Potato-Poblano Soup

One of the most disappointing things when cooking is when you find a recipe that you are super excited about, make it, and it turns out to be a total flop, which is what initially happened with this recipe.  Bound and determined not to give up on what I believed to have the potential to be a great soup, I decided to try it again with a few [major] modifications.

I first came across this recipe in an article about Dr. Andrew Weil that was published in Whole Living Magazine. The article introduced his new cookbook that is filled with healthy recipes from his popular restaurant "True Food", along with the recipe for this very soup.  Not only did the recipe look delicious, it also inspired me to head out and buy the book that very day. So, you can imagine my disappointment when I made the soup and not only did it look nothing like the photo in the book, it was severely lacking any sort of flavor.

The first red flag was that the recipe called for 3 quarts of water (or 12 cups for those of you that are conversionally challenged).  From my previous experience with making tasty soups that include coconut milk, I will use 1 quart vegetable broth, and one can coconut milk with the corresponding spices, which will usually lead to a flavorful bowl of goodness. For the first attempt, my hesitation (along with my lack of a large enough stockpot in which to fit a bunch of veggies and 12 cups of water) led me to cut the water back to 8 cups. Turns out I should have listened to my gut and gone with the 4.

Wood-fired veggies. 
Thankfully, I'm not one to walk away from a good soup, so I gave it another go.  In this updated recipe, I used one quart veggie stock (instead of the 3 quarts water), and I threw caution to the wind and used regular coconut milk instead of the light stuff...The way I look at it, if you're going to get fat from consuming too much coconut milk, you have yourself a problem-One 14-oz can in a large batch of soup is not going to make you bust out the elastic-waist pants.

Our snowy pizza oven-March in Minnesota!
Now let's talk about the roasted veggies.  I'm fortunate enough to have a husband who built a great wood-fired pizza oven in our backyard (I know...*swoon*), so I was able to roast the veggies in our outdoor oven which gave them a nice smoky flavor.  However, if you don't have access to a wood-fired oven, roasting them in a conventional oven is just fine-The purpose for roasting the veggies is to give a bit of that lightly charred flavor, but be careful not to burn-There is a pretty distinct line between "lightly charred" and "burned". 

At the end of the day, this soup ended up being chalk-full of flavor with a nice creamy finish and a bit of a kick-One that will warm you up on a cool evening. 

                                                          Eat Healthy, Stay Happy!

Sweet Potato-Poblano Soup

Serves 4
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 small bulb fennel, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 poblano chile, seeded and diced
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 quart vegetable stock
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup white wine
1 14-oz can unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish

1). Heat broiler and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Toss veggies and oil in a large bowl and then arrange in a single layer on a prepared sheet and broil, tossing once halfway through, until browned-About 12 minutes. 

2). Transfer roasted veggies to a large pot and stir in spices, salt, wine and veggie broth. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 30 minutes.

3). Remove soup from heat and whisk in coconut milk.  Let simmer on low for 10 minutes or until heated through.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro and scallions before serving. 

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