It takes a concerted amount of effort on Sundays to push thoughts of the upcoming work week out of my mind so that I can relax and enjoy the last 24 hours of weekend leisure. When stress creeps into my shoulders, a good outdoor run typically helps to clear my mind and refresh my energy. However, winter weather has thwarted my running efforts these days, so lately, I’ve found that creating new dishes and working with new foods help tame the tension. It’s a new way to engage my mind and use my body; well, at least my hands.
Today’s stress relief comes in the form of sweet potatoes. 2 pounds of them to be exact, from this week’s CSA share. Since J is not a fan of this vitamin A packed super food, I decide its primary use this week will be for lunch. Since the butternut squash soup I made last weekend held for about 3 lunches for me, I decide soup is an economical and healthful choice for the brown bag.
I found a Sweet Potato Soup recipe from the Food Network website that seemed relatively easy. I was also excited at the prospect of using my trusty hand blender again as well as polishing off that bag of kale. I picked up some chicken stock this morning at the market and the rest of the ingredients I had in my kitchen. Reading over some of the reviews, the word ‘bland’ popped up. So, I decided to add 1/2 of an onion to spice it up a bit, and made a few other adjustments (less milk, more stock). The sweet potato and kale combo packs quite a nutritional punch, strong representation from vitamins K, A and C, and a favorable showing of fiber, manganese and iron.
Sweet Potato Soup with Kale
Adapted from the Food Network recipe
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter **
- ½ yellow onion chopped
- 2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable, if desired)
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 3 cups cooked medium sweet potatoes ** (I peeled, chopped, and boiled in water for about 15 minutes)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup 2% milk **
- 1 cup kale **
In a heavy saucepot, over medium-low heat, cook the flour, butter and onion, stirring constantly until roux achieves a light caramel color. Add the stock and brown sugar, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Stir in the sweet potatoes and spices, bring to a simmer again, and cook for 5 minutes more. In a blender or using a hand blender, purée the soup and return to saucepot (if necessary). Add the milk and kale, and reheat soup. Let kale cook for about 5 minutes. Ladle into warm soup bowls and serve. Add salt and pepper if desired. I topped with some crushed bagel chips and shredded cheddar jack.