i must admit (please, stick with me, even after you read these next two confessions): i do love winter. And... i have enjoyed very much the all the snow we've had this year (even "grey days" are brighter when a blanket of white snow covers the earth around us...and, stay with me...snow is great for the garden).
But it has been plenty cold for quite a while now...and i'll admit that i'm ready for a few milder days.
So, while the weather sorts itself out and i keep the polar fleece and heavy socks handy, i have been turning to this soup more than once. It's all well and good and makes me feel virtuous that it's "good for me", but the critical issue for me is, especially at this time of year when I'm antsy, I need to enjoy my food.
So, dear reader, i share with you another soup that is packed full of deliciousness, makes one feel virtuous, and is one the kids might even like since it has a wonderful peanut buttery element. i also enjoy the bit of bite provided by the cayenne pepper--which intensifies overnight if you have leftovers.
i alert you to this up front so you can adjust accordingly, if necessary. But i should also add that i've served this to people who do not always enjoy as much peppery heat as i do and they have not found it to be too hot in that regard.
This recipe comes from Ellie Krieger, nutritionist (i told you it's good for you) and host of her own excellent cooking show on the Food Network, "Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger."
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 cup)
2 medium carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (2 cups)
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, with their juices
2/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup chopped scallion greens (about 3 scallions)
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over a medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell pepper and carrots and cook, stirring until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add the cayenne, black pepper, garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the sweet potato, broth, and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
Puree the soup in the pot using an immersion blender or in a regular blender in 2 batches and return the soup to the pot. Add the peanut butter and honey and stir, over low heat, until the peanut butter melts. Serve warm, garnished with the scallions.
When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.
Calories 290; Total Fat 18g (Sat Fat 3.5g, Mono Fat 9g, Poly Fat 5g); Protein 14g; Carb 23g; Fiber 5g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 260mg
And, I'm curious: what have you been eating to get you through the last few cold and snowy weeks?...or warm and balmy weeks...depending on where you spend January...