I have started testing recipes per my earlier post, Eating Suburbia: The Tables Are Turned. Today’s recipe is Ginger Sweet Potato Soup. I chose this recipe for several reasons. One, as a child my mother thought I was allergic to sweet potatoes as I had a rash that she thought was an allergic reaction when I first ate them. So it wasn’t until I was an adult that I actually tried them again and found this was a false assumption. So I am making up for lost time. Two, I love ginger—anything with ginger, be it sweet or savory. Three, it is a recipe I might not have made without prompting and I like to cook outside the box whenever possible.
Usually I think of sweet potatoes in that southern delight, Sweet Potato Pie. Then, of course, the holidays, for which most people serve yams instead of sweet potatoes. And last, sweet potato fries, which I eat whenever I get the chance. Most people frown on the lowly sweet potato and I don’t hear of it being used very often these days, which is a shame, as this root vegetable is very nutritious, being full of Vitamins A and C and beta carotene. It is also low in calories and a good source of fiber. I got a bit nervous when I went to the store as all they seemed to carry was yams – several varieties in fact. But I bought 3 organic garnet yams and brought them home and did a little research. These are actually sweet potatoes, but a variety that is often referred to as yams. I cannot understand why they just don’t call it a sweet potato. Are they saving money on the lettering?
If I were to guess, I would say this recipe is Caribbean in origin. Sweet potatoes are grown in warm southern climates, such as South America, the Caribbean and Polynesia. But the addition of the coconut milk in this recipe reminds me of Caribbean/African cooking. Any thoughts on this?
INGREDIENTS: everything was easy to find at my local Safeway or was already on my spice shelf. I purchased fresh orange juice and used canned chicken stock as I had none in my freezer.
PREP: this was easy, just chopping and measuring. It took roughly 15 minutes once I had everything assembled.
COOKING: this took about 60 minutes, with minimal intervention. The last stage is to puree the ingredients. Normally I use a hand blender, which is the easiest tool to use and requires the least amount of clean up. But since I loaned out the hand blender, I had to use the old fashioned blender, which necessitates an additional bowl to put the puree in, as it has to be done in stages.
TASTE: Tester #1 (faithful husband who will eat anything) loved it. Tester #2 (Daughter won’t eat anything with ginger) so she passed. Tester #3 (me) With the initial taste, there was a slight tang, from the ginger and peppers and the flavor of the orange really came through, almost a bit too much on first taste. But after a few bites it wasn’t so prominent and there was a wonderful creamy texture to the soup. Tester #4 (son, the butcher) said it was good. Like the tang. Tester #5 (son, the electrician) liked it. Made him guess what was in it and he recognized oranges and potato. Also said he felt the tang on first bite.
The only thing I would change is the amount of orange juice. Maybe cut it down to 1 or 1 ½ cups and increase the chicken stock. The coconut milk is not discernable but lends a creaminess and sweetness to the soup.
I think this soup may taste better tomorrow after all the flavors have melded even more. Good thing there are leftovers!
Ginger Sweet Potato Soup
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and cut into ½” dice
2 oz butter
3 Tbsp chopped garlic
1 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger
2 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼” slices
2 cups fresh orange juice
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
13 oz can coconut milk
1 tsp orange zest
2 tsp salt
1 pinch nutmeg, cayenne pepper, white pepper .
1 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
Melt butter in a four-quart pot and add diced onions, sautéing until lightly golden. Add ginger and garlic, and cook for one minute. Add sliced sweet potatoes and stir. Add juice, stock, and coconut milk, and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook for 25 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender. Blend soup using your blender guide for processing hot liquids or a hand blender. Add sugar, vinegar and seasonings. Serve.
One personal note: If you use a standard blender, be very careful. Because I do not usually use this type of blender for hot foods, I was unaccustomed to the procedure. I filled my glass blender pitcher half full, put the lid on tightly and turned it on to puree. The top proceeded to blow off, spewing hot soup all over me and the kitchen. I got a nasty burn. I continued by filling the pitcher a quarter of the way full, and holding down the top with a dishtowel over it, which worked significantly better.