Root Soups

Since the days are getting colder soup seems like a really good idea.  Here are a number of different soups made from root vegetables.  These soups are all dead easy to make.  I love soups and chile, because you can’t really overcook them!  All of these soups follow the same simple steps; they all start with an onion and garlic base, then add stock and roots, boil, simmer until soft, blend. Serve and garnish.  Eat and feel warm…

Southwest Sweet Potato Soup


Sometimes I feel as though sweet potato, squash, and carrot soups all look and taste the same — something like baby food. I wanted to try a something new and I found a number of recipes online for a “Southwest Sweet Potato Soup”.  A soup flavoured with the same spices you might put in your chile.  I made some guacamole to go with this soup, because I don’t need much excuse to put guacamole on anything.  The recipe I found from Michael Smith called for rolled up and baked tortilla as a garnish, but I decided to add some more crunch instead and topped it with some tortilla chips.

1 tablespooon of butter (I used Ghee or clarified butter)
2 large onions, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 red pepper
1 teaspoon of dry or fresh oregano (if you’ve got some)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
a sprinkle or two sea salt
1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt
some tortilla chips
4 – 6 sprigs fresh cilantro, for garnish  1 Avocado and 1/2 lime for guacamole

Heat pot with medium heat.  Throw in oil, onions, garlic and red pepper.  Cook, stirring until soft.  Add spices. Pour in chicken stock, add chopped sweet potatoes and bring to a boil.  Turn down to a simmer and cook until sweet potatoes are soft.  Puree in batches in a blender or with immersion blender.  Ladle into bowls and top with guacamole, yogurt, chips and a few sprigs of cilantro. Enjoy!


Caldo Verde


Living within Little Portugal, there is no way I couldn’t include Caldo Verde or “Portuguese Greens” soup in this list.  Caldo Verde is one of Portugal’s signature dishes. It’s very simple and very delicious.  There is also very little variety in recipes I found for this soup, so you don’t need to worry about getting fancy.  The same recipe from my Joy of Cooking, can be found all over the internet.  I’ve made a vegetarian version of this soup with white beans before, or you can throw a can of beans into this meat version too for extra protein.  I find beans always go well with sausages.  If you go veggie, add some smoked paprika with your onions and garlic if you’ve got some to give it a nice smoky flavour.  The kale in this soup tastes delicious with the sausage and potatoes and adds a whack of vitamins to your meal.  It’s a very hearty soup and with some crusty bread from the Brazilian Bakery, this is a great lunch or light supper.

2 onions, diced
4 cloves of garlic, diced
4 cups of chicken broth or vegetable broth, 4 cups of water
4 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 ½ teaspoons of salt
½ teaspoon of pepper
1 chorizo sausage, sliced
4 cups of kale, stems removed, thinly sliced

In a large pot on medium heat, cook onions and garlic until soft.  Add stock, water, potatoes, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer for 20 minutes.  While the potatoes are getting soft, slice your chorizo and cook with a little oil in a frying pan.  Rinse kale and remove thick stems and slice it up nice and thin.  Once the potatoes are soft, blend half of the soup and throw in your sausages.  You can dump a cup of the blended soup back into the frying pan and scrape the browned bits of sausage and return to the soup for added flavour.  I like to add the kale and simmer 5 minutes before serving as you get a nice bright green colour in your bowl.


Carrot Ginger Apple Soup


My daughter is served soup at her school on Tuesdays for lunch and her favourite is Carrot Ginger.  Here is a version that includes an apple for an extra bit of sweetness.  The spice of the ginger (really just a hint – it’s not too spicy at all) balances the sweetness of the carrots and apple.

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + more for garnish
1 small onion, diced (1 cup diced onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 large apple
1.5 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped (~5 cups)
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a medium sized pot, cook onions, ginger and garlic until soft.  Add chopped apple, carrots and stock.  Cook until soft.  Blend.  Serve up with some yogurt and chopped dill or parsley for a little bit of colour.



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