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We tried a gardening experiment last summer, growing as many varieties of peppers as we could, enjoying their bright freshness through the summer, and then drying them to spice up soups and chili pots through the rest of the year. This vegan sweet potato peanut soup makes wonderful use of them, adding kick to the velvety richness of the potage. I include roasted carrots in the recipe, sliced into rounds and mixed in at the end, adding nice vegetal flavor and a bit of texture to the soup. Right before serving, squeeze in juice of three fresh limes. Spoon soup into bowls over hot long-grain rice, and garnish with ground peanut, multi-colored carrot bits and snipped fresh chives. This is also very good with fresh cilantro.
- 3 sweet potatoes (roasted and peeled they will make 2 cups packed)
- 1 large red onion, peeled, ends trimmed and discarded
- 1 ½ cups fresh carrot, in 2 inch pieces (OR use baby carrots)
- 2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp peanut oil, divided (OR coconut oil)
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 dried hot chili peppers, ground to make 1 Tbsp (OR 1 Tbsp chili flakes)
- 1 cup tomato puree (or diced canned tomato)
- 2, 15-ounce cans coconut milk
- ½ cup chunky organic peanut butter
- 1 quart vegetable stock
- 1 inch ginger, peeled and grated
- 3 fresh limes
- Roasted peanuts, about ½ cup ground for garnish
- Fresh multi-colored carrots, about a ½ cup sliced into rounds for garnish
- Fresh chives, one small bunch, snipped for garnish
- Heat oven to 375. Scrub sweet potatoes very well. Place sweet potatoes in their jackets in oven-proof casserole dish. Scrub carrots. Peel and slice onion into rounds. In a second ovenable dish, separate onion slices and scatter, mixing with carrots. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp peanut oil. Sprinkle with salt and a few grinds of fresh-cracked black pepper. Place dish of sweet potatoes and dish of onion/carrot mixture in 375 degree oven and roast for ½ hour. Open oven to mix the onion mixture; cover the onions/carrots with foil. Close oven and continue roasting all vegetables for another ½ hour.
- While vegetables roast, in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat, melt remaining 1 tsp. coconut oil. Add garlic and chili flakes and gently cook for one minute. Add ½ cup water and cook until garlic is very soft and water has evaporated. Add tomato puree and cook stirring until sauce has thickened and “bright” flavor of tomato has deepened. (If using chunks of tomato, puree with immersion blender.) Add coconut milk, stir. Add peanut butter and pulse with immersion blender until smooth. Add vegetable stock and grated ginger. Simmer over low heat.
- Remove carrot/onion mixture and sweet potatoes from oven and cool until you can handle them. Peel sweet potatoes, saving skins to eat later (The skins are edible and very tasty!) Add sweet potatoes to soup pot and blend until smooth. Chop roasted onion and slice cooked carrots into rounds and gently stir all into pot. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper. If you want soup spicier, add a pinch of cayenne pepper. If you want a thinner soup, add a bit more water or vegetable stock. Right before serving, stir the juice of three fresh-squeezed limes into the soup for to add a nice tart pop.
- Serve hot, over long-grain rice, garnished with sliced rounds of tiny raw carrots, ground peanuts and snipped chives.
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