Savor The Earth

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Greening Turkey Day–Soup November 24, 2009

Filed under: Austin Farmers Market,easy,fast,soup,vegetables,vegetarian — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 7:57 pm

sweet potatoes in the pot

soup's on!

Thanksgiving’s trottin’ up fast.  My Turkey Day celebrations have changed dramatically since having a couple of kids.  It’s been years since I’ve made a homemade pâté de campagne or boned out a duck.  I let friends and relatives take over most of the cooking now.  I contribute what I can manage and there’s still plenty to go around!

Today’s the last day for HEB’s incredible deal on Texas sweet potatoes at 19¢ a pound, as well as specials on Texas green beans for 77¢ a pound (casserole!) and Texas apples—cameo (love those cameos) and fuji—going for $1.27 per pound.  Put a pomme in you pie or add apples to your stuffing.

In the years BC (before children) I always cooked up a Peanut Butter Sweet Potato Soup as one of the big meal’s starters. My Thanksgiving spread showcased New World foods, and this recipe, with its sweet potatoes, jalapeño, tomato juice and peanut butter, kills four birds with one tureen!   I won’t be making it this year, but folks with a little more time on their hands (this is an easy soup) can enjoy this rich, warming precursor to the main event.

PEANUT BUTTER SWEET POTATO SOUP makes about a dozen small servings

  • 1 Tablespoon oil or fat of choice
  • 2 cups chopped local onions–choose your colors
  • 2 or 3 teaspoons grated fresh organic ginger root
  • a couple or so cloves of garlic, minced.  Local has about dried up.  I go for domestic organic.
  • 1 local jalapeño.  Leave whole if coddling delicate palates.  Otherwise, chop it up!
  • 1 rib of organic celery, chopped.  Local isn’t available yet—Edgar of Finca Pura Vida says it’ll be about three weeks.  But you’ve probably already bought this holiday cooking staple, anyway.
  • 1 cup chopped organic carrots.  Inexpensive year ’round, another holiday must-have.
  • a couple sprigs of fresh thyme.  This herb’s easy to grow (most are), but you can buy fresh Texas-grown herbs at Central Market and our farmers markets.  Thyme and sage are Thanksgiving essentials!
  • 1 bay leaf—I love fresh (been growin’ it for more than a decade) but dried will do.
  • 2 cups or so chopped Texas sweet potato.  I use one medium-sized.  I usually don’t bother to peel them.  That’s up to you, though.
  • 1 teaspoon salt.  I like Real Salt.
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups organic tomato juice
  • 1 cup organic smooth peanut butter.  I prefer the “natural” (i.e. not “no-stir”) for this recipe.  Use what you have.
  • turbinado sugar to taste, up to 1 Tablespoon (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped local green onions.  I’ve been enjoying Hairston Creek Farm‘s lovely scallions lately.  If you didn’t buy any this weekend you can still shop for all kinds of local produce (and meat and eggs and dairy) at the Austin Farmers Market at the Triangle this Wednesday, with extended hours from 3pm to 8pm.  Put a little local on your table!

Heat up the grease in a big soup pot and saute the onion over medium heat just until translucent.  Add the rest of the aromatics, through the bay leaf, and saute a couple minutes more.  Dump in the sweet potatoes, salt and water, turn the heat up high and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Carefully puree the soup, adding the tomato juice and peanut butter, in your blender until smooth—exercise caution when blending hot liquids.  Return the blended soup to the pot and taste for sweetness, adding turbinado sugar if necessary.  Reheat over low heat until warmed through.

Serve generously topped with the green onions.  For a main course,  ladle over Lowell Farms Texas-grown organic jasmine rice.