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Saturday, March 14, 2009


Spicy* Sweet Potato Black Bean Soup
6-8 large servings
20 minutes

A fast, filling soup that I make in about a hundred versions. Here's today's. It's superloaded with nutrients--especially vitamins A and C, folate, manganese, iron, and fiber. Plenty of protein too. It's definitely not fancy, but it's nevertheless one I crave regularly in fall/winter.

*Regarding "spicy," remember I'm a Texan. So I find this mildly spicy. Adjust accordingly!

1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 gloves garlic, minced
1/2 sweet yellow onion, chopped (you might like more, I supertaste onions)
1 large jalapeno, minced (remove seeds and ribs for tamer heat)
32 oz can tomatoes, crushed or chopped if you get the whole ones
4 cups vegetable stock (or low-salt commercial boxed veg stock, 32 oz.)
2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed
2 cups cooked black beans (or 1 can, drained and rinsed)
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp minced oregano, or 1/2 tsp dried
1 tsp pure chile powder (if you use a "chili" powder that has anything other than dried chiles, adjust other seasonings)
juice of one lime
3-4 huge handfuls of fresh spinach, about 10-12 ounces (baby leaves or chopped large leaves; you can also use frozen, but soup will take longer to come up to boil)
4-6 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Heat oil in large soup pot over medium heat. Saute onions until translucent. Add garlic and jalapeno and saute until soft and just beginning to brown.

Add tomatoes with juice, stock, and lime juice. Add frozen spinach now, if you're using that. Bring to a boil.

While soup base comes to a boil, microwave sweet potatoes until tender (prick them a few times with a fork first), approximately 6-8 minutes, turning once. Set aside to cool.

Slice cooled potatoes in half and slip off their skins. Dice and add to soup base, along with beans, chile powder, cumin and oregano. Return to boil.

Lower to simmer. Add fresh spinach now, if you're using that, and cilantro. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow greens to wilt and flavors to meld. Check seasonings, and salt and pepper to taste if necessary. (If your stock, tomatoes, and canned beans are salted you probably won't need any.)

Serve with warm whole wheat or corn tortilla, or crumble baked or raw tortilla chips on top.

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