Sweet potato soup – winter joy

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Pumpkin soup is ubiquitous as a winter time meal in my part of the world so I thought I’d mix it up a bit and try a sweet potato soup instead. Lots of spices and a bit of heat make this soup a little different and it would be a good introduction for the uninitiated to Indian style flavours, as it’s not too hot. I serve it with plain yoghurt on the side and crispy bruschetta for dipping. It is quite a thick soup, but you can add a little more stock to get the texture you like. Snuggle up on the couch and enjoy on a winter’s night – perfect for a Sunday night supper with a movie.

Serves 4 – 6

1/4 cup oil
3 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (use 1/2 a teaspoon if your chilli tolerance is very low)
1 onion, chopped
2 cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 kg orange sweet potato, peeled and chopped into chunks
2 stalks celery, finely sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1.25L vegetable stock
sea salt and black pepper
1/2 cup plain yoghurt, to serve

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the spices, onion, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring all the time, until the spices release beautiful aromas. Be careful not to let them burn. Add all the other ingredients except for the stock, and cook for 3 -4 minutes until the sweet potato is coated in the spice mixture. Add the stock and simmer gently, covered, for about 30 minutes, or until the sweet potato is very soft and you can easily squash it with a wooden spoon. Blend the soup in a food processor, or with a stick blender, until it is smooth. If you like add a little extra stock or water to get the consistency you prefer. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with toasted bruschetta or crusty fresh bread with the yoghurt passed separately for everyone to add a spoonful to their soup. It will keep for 3 – 4 days in the refrigerator and also freezes well.

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