Spicy and Smoky Sweet Potato Soup

This silky smooth soup, which I adapted from It’s All Good, makes a lovely lunch or first course. It’s free of dairy and packed with high-vitamin veggies. I added red pepper for another dimension of flavor, texture and bright color. You can adjust the spice to accommodate your palate.

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • Small bunch cilantro, leaves removed and stems tied into a bundle with kitchen string
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon hot pimenton de la vera (Spanish smoked paprika), see tips
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup harissa, see tips
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 6 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • Sea salt, for serving

  • Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.
  • Add the onion, garlic, red bell pepper, cilantro bouquet, cumin, pimenton and a big pinch of salt. Stirring often, cook until softened but not brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the harissa, sweet potato and stock to the pot, then increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are very soft. Remove the cilantro stems and discard. Transfer the mixture to a blender and carefully puree until silky smooth. Alternatively, you can use an immersion (stick) blender to puree the soup.
  • Serve with a sprinkle of sea salt and a few of the reserved cilantro leaves.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. The original recipe called for chipotle en adobo, but I couldn’t find them in my store. This thick, hot red paste comes in a little jar or can. I replaced the smokiness and heat by using Spanish smoked paprika and harissa. If you use harissa, taste it first to see how fiery it is. The brand I tried wasn’t particularly spicy but there is another brand I often use that it much hotter. The quantities I’ve listed here will give you a moderately spicy finished product assuming your paprika and harissa are on the medium side, as mine were. You can also use sweet Spanish smoked paprika (pimenton de la vera dulce) to add smoke without the extra element of heat.
  • 2. Since it lacks dairy, this soup should freeze beautifully. I froze half the batch for a(nother) snow day.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 40 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

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