shorter days (and smoky chipotle sweet potato soup)
nights come early now, darkness settling in even before we sit down to dinner.
the snow melts; the last aspen leaves rattle and flutter away with passing winds; snow falls again.
daylight appears as in a watercolor, pellucid, devoid of color. ropy clouds drape across a pale blue sky.
how we mark these days.
the holidays approach, and for many of us they will look different. travel and extended family gatherings out of the picture. we will gather in smaller groups, or even alone. old traditions unfulfilled; yet, perhaps, new traditions created: a thanksgiving snowshoe. an advent calendar filled with remainders for daily activities that bring us joy. new year resolutions that focus not on bettering ourselves, but bettering the world.
and each day, gratitude and nourishment.
Smoky Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup Serves: 4-6
This is one of my favorite cold-weather meals. Rustic, warming, with just a bit of heat from the chipotle. It’s a great way to use up leftover roasted sweet potatoes and doesn’t require much more than pantry staples. I hope you enjoy it!
2 large sweet potatoes (~500 g each), scrubbed and dried 4 cloves garlic (unpeeled) 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 medium yellow onion (~250 g), diced 3/4 tsp ground coriander 3/4 tsp ground cumin 1/2 – 3/4 tsp ground chipotle chili pepper 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper Pinch of sea salt 2 C vegetable stock 2 C water
To top (optional):
coconut crema chopped cilantro or parsley pepitas or hemp seeds fresh sliced jalapeño
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place sweet potatoes directly on the middle oven rack and garlic cloves in the oven on an oven-safe baking dish.
After 30 minutes, pull the garlic cloves out of the oven and set aside to cool. Continue baking the sweet potatoes until they are tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 30 more minutes. Set potatoes aside to cool.
Meanwhile, heat a dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed stainless steel stockpot over medium heat.
Heat the olive oil in the stockpot and then add the onions. Saute, stirring frequently, until onions are softened (5-7 minutes).
Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins and into the pot. Scoop the flesh out of the sweet potato skins and add to the pot, along with the coriander, cumin, chipotle powder, pepper, and salt. Stir to combine.
Add the vegetable stock and water and turn the heat to high. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Turn off the heat and, using an immersion blender, carefully puree the soup until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can puree the soup (carefully!) in batches in a regular blender.
Top with coconut crema, chopped cilantro or parsley, pepitas or hemp seeds, and/or sliced fresh jalapeno. (Note: to make the coconut crema, refrigerate a can of regular, full-fat coconut milk overnight. Scrape the coconut cream off the top and put in a bowl. Stir in some of the remaining liquid, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the coconut cream is the right consistency to drizzle over the soup. Use a chopstick to swirl it around for effect, if desired!)
This recipe first appeared in Volume 20 of Thrive Magazine.