soup, cropped

No, these are not leftovers from last Tuesday.

raw potatoes

This is a TOTALLY DIFFERENT winter vegetable cooked in a TOTALLY DIFFERENT way. And then sure, pureed and blended with stock and cream like the other one, and garnished with something crunchy like the other one, but really, otherwise they couldn’t be more different.

I can’t help it, the weather is disgusting, little needles of frozen rain that are so minute they can pierce your umbrella and embed themselves directly into your skin, while the hand that holds the pointless umbrella slowly freezes, hardening into the shape of the handle.* It’s soup weather. It’s also an I-don’t-want-to-spend-forever-in-the-kitchen night, because women’s bobsled is on and I must feed the hungry demon that is my Olympic fever.**

So conditions were ripe for a roasted sweet potato-chipotle soup with lime cream and pepitas. Quick, warming, satisfying. I’ll take two, waiter.

*Fuck you, weather.

**Kidding, it’s actually fed by women’s figure skating. Bobsled and ice dancing are the two sports that induce a comatose state, even in the Olympics.***

***I know it’s called “ladies’,” but that irritates me.

limeslime yogurt

I considered throwing the sweet potatoes into the oven to roast whole, to keep all their earthy sweet goodness trapped inside their skins. Then I remembered entire generations are born and die away in the time it can take to bake even a single sweet potato, so I peeled and cut them into small chunks, tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and threw them into a hot oven. Hey, they’ll caramelize in the oven and get nice and sweet, right? Right. Plus, they’re already sweet because they’re freaking SWEET POTATOES.

While the potatoes roasted, I put the lime cream together. Originally, I’d just been planning on whisking lime juice into some sour cream, but I thought the particular tang of Greek yogurt would go well not only with the lime, but with the deep flavors of both the potatoes and chipotle.

While prepping the cream, I was witness to an impressive show of brute force: Brian came into the kitchen and saw me rolling the rock-hard limes to help coax a few drops of juice out and immediately asked to help. I’m not one to fail to shirk a tedious task, so I handed the fruit over. He rolled it against the counter with SUCH POWER that after only two rolls, the lime actually exploded beneath his palm.

Don’t get on his bad side, because as we’ve now learned, he could probably crush your head like a grape. If he were allowed to roll it against a countertop.

sweet potatoes

Aside: They’re trying SO SO HARD to talk up the Nordic Combined (cross country skiing + ski long jump, obviously) as an exciting, must-watch sport; it’s really quite touching.

I pulled the potatoes out when they were fork-tender; the side touching the sheet pan had caramelized nicely. I pureed them in batches with chicken stock to thin things out – you could sub veggie stock to make this vegetarian, for the two vegetarians that read this blog – tossing in a whole chipotle and some of the adobo in which they’re packed as I went.

I just realized how few ingredients this dish actually has: potatoes, chipotle, stock, cream, yogurt, lime juice. I’m like that “5 Ingredient Meals” woman on the Food Network, except I use six ingredients and force you to read.

soup, in progress

I fortified the puree with a little heavy cream to mellow out the chipotle a touch, adjusted the salt, and dinner was served. Well, dinner was served after I labored over the bowl to make it all pretty-like for the picture. At which point it was considerably less hot than when it left the pot, but these are the sacrifices the dedicated food blogger must make: never eating a goddamn hot meal again.

Not that I am bitter. Lukewarm soup, mmm mmm good. (And no, I couldn’t heat it back up in the microwave because I don’t own one.)

spicy sweetness

Lots of ingredients and fanciness aren’t necessary for a delicious meal. Solid ingredients simply prepared can yield something as satisfying as the most refined 20-ingredient dish. This soup contains almost no ingredients, involves nothing more complex than turning on the oven and operating a blender, and is fantastic.

It’s all about the balance with this one. Well, the balance and the wonderful mouthfeel. The deep smoky flavor of chipotles are a perfect match for the deep sweetness of the sweet potatoes, while the tangy lime yogurt added just the right amount of contrast and zip and tamed the spice just the right amount. I found some pepitas in the pantry and tossed some in for some texture. Even lukewarm, this soup did a good job of thawing me out after my walk home, and it got me in and out of the kitchen in under 45 minutes.

Good job, me.

Sweet Potato-Chipotle Soup with Lime Cream
3 medium sweet potatoes
2 cups chicken stock
1 chipotle in adobo + 1 tsp. adobo
4 tbsp. heavy cream
4 oz. Greek yogurt
Juice of 3 limes
olive oil

Preheat your oven to 450.

Peel and chop the sweet potatoes. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper until all the pieces are coated. Roast until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork and have caramelized on their undersides.

While the potatoes roast, whisk the yogurt and lime juice together until smooth.

Puree the sweet potatoes in 2 batches, adding a cup of stock to each (keep a little extra on hand in case you need to thin things out a little; it should be the consistency of a thick cream soup or a bisque) and adding the chipotle to one of the batches. If you want to be all anal, you can push the puree through a sieve; I didn’t. Transfer to a sauce pan.

Put the soup over medium heat, whisk in the cream, adjust the seasoning and heat until hot.

“Heat until hot.” That sounded dumb. Sorry.

Serve soup with a few dollops of the lime cream. If you have pepitas on hand, they’re a nice addition.