The sweet potato. One is often confused about what to do with these odd-shaped orange fleshed tubers!
I remember my grandmother would receive a box of them every Fall. She would always put one in a vase and would grow a beautiful vine throughout the winter. This would always amaze us kids!
You can use sweet potato the same as a potato but, like the name suggest, they have a much sweeter taste than the usual starchy true potato.
The sweet potato is actually the root of a vine in the morning-glory family. You have probably seen all the new hybrids that are used as bedding plants for ground cover? They have burgundy or pale green leaves which vine along the ground. They do produce small morning-glory type flowers but are grown for their foliage.
Chipotle sweet potato soup with garlic kale
3 tablespoons extra virgin oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion- diced
3 cloves of garlic- diced
1 tablespoon Chipotle powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
1 branch of rosemary
5 cups (one box) vegetable stock
2 large sweet potatoes ( peeled and diced) (about 6 cups)
2 russet potatoes (peeled and diced) (or about 2 cups any other variety)
2 cups water (as needed)
2 bay leaves
Course salt or kosher salt
Pepper to taste
1) Heat the olive oil and butter in a large heavy pan over a medium heat. I prefer a Dutch Oven
2) Add the onion, garlic, cumin, bay leaves, and about a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook until the onions are softened but not brown. It should take about 10 minutes. Stir often. You can use this time to peel and dice the potatoes.
3) Add the potatoes and Chipotle. Stir to coat with the oil mixture.
4) Add the box of vegetable broth and turn up the heat. I also added two cups of water so that potatoes were floating and not touching the bottom. Add the rosemary, too.
5) Once it begins to boil, turn it down to medium low and simmer on a gentle boil for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked. Don’t worry if it is super hot and spicy from the chipotle. Once the potatoes cook and are mashed they will temper the spiciness.
6) After about 30 minutes the potatoes should be soft and cooked when you try to mash one with a fork. Remove from the burner and use a masher to press down to break up the potatoes. I like mine with some small chunks. I call it rustic!
7) Return to the stove. Allow it to return to a bubbling simmer. Taste and salt and pepper to your liking. You should notice that the sweet potatoes now have softened the smoky spiciness of the chipotle powder. Remove the bay leaves and any of the rosemary needles you can get with a fork. They should have settled around the edges of the soup.
Its ready to serve! It has a bite so if you are not a spicy food fan you may reduce the chipotle powder to a teaspoon.
I also cooked a small bunch of kale with vinegar, salt and water.
Kale with vinegar and salt.
While the soup was cooking I decided that it was going to be very spicy and I need something to help remove the chipotle residue from my mouth and throat and help cool me down. So I put on a pot of kale.
1) Melt butter and oil in a heavy pan over medium heat.
2) Chop the kale in ribbons. Turn them in the pot to coat with butter and oil for a minute or two.
3) Fill the pot with enough water so the kale is floating and turn up the heat. Bring it to a boil then turn down to a simmer on medium low. Add about two tables spoons of vinegar. I use white zinfandel vinegar. Salt liberally. I also added a diced garlic clove.
4) In about 10 minutes or so it should be wilted and dark green. If you don’t like the ribs you may remove them before cooking.
So with some rice on the side this is what dinner was looking like!