Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nutty Sweet Potato Soup with Harissa and Spinach

At the hospital where I work, we have a great cafeteria. It has its share of crappy food, but it also has some delicious food. And for awhile (until a couple weeks ago, actually), it had some wonderful soups. (It changed because the soup dude left.) A couple of my coworkers developed a rule of thumb when it came to choosing the Most Delicious Soups: the more it looks like baby poop/vomit, the more delicious it will be.

The same is not true in Lauren's Kitchen, however. I know I was making a weird combination to begin with so it's my fault for choosing the recipe, but I have SO MUCH harissa and just want to use it up in recipes. Therefore, I chose this one. And it certainly did look like baby poop/vomit (both, really) but it was not a delicious soup. It was just weird. There's no other way to describe it other than being weird. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't delicious. I would not make this again. Booooooo, this week has not been a successful week in terms of cooking!


Nutty Sweet Potato Soup with Harissa and Spinach
Vegetarian Times, October 2011

Harissa is a smoky North African chili paste made from smoked chiles, olive oil, spices, and sometimes tomatoes. Heat and flavor vary from brand to brand. This recipe was made with a French-produced harissa with a mild heat and extra sweetness from tomatoes.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced (2 cups)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 tablespoons harissa paste
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick (5 cups)
3 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
3 ounces spinach leaves, thinly sliced (2 packed cups)
Lemon wedges, for garnish

1. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add leeks, and sauté 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, peanut butter, harissa, garlic, turmeric, and cumin; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add sweet potatoes, broth, and 1 1/2 cups water, and simmer over medium-low heat, partially covered, 20 to 25 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender.

2. Blend mixture with immersion blender, adding more water if soup is too thick. Bring soup back to a simmer, and stir in spinach leaves. Serve with lemon wedges.

Servings: 8

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