Monday, January 10, 2011

curried sweet potato soup with kale and black eyed peas

Okay people-- here's the first of my made-up recipes of 2011. I'm calling it curried sweet potato soup with kale and black eyed peas, and here it is:

Curried Sweet Potato Soup with Kale and Black Eyed Peas
serves 8

2 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 T minced garlic
1/2 t ground ginger
1 1/2 t garam masala
1 1/2 t hot curry powder
1 1/2 t mild curry powder
1 bay leaf
5 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 cups black eyed pea cooking liquid, or 4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups vegetable broth
2 1/2 cups cooked black eyed peas
2/3 LB kale, chopped
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot, saute onion, red pepper, and celery in olive oil. When veggies are soft, add garlic, ginger, curry powders, garam masala, and bay leaf. Stir for 1 minute. Add sweet potatoes and 4 cups liquid (black eyed pea cooking liquid or vegetable broth). Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender.

Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree the soup.

Add 2 cups vegetable broth, salt, pepper, kale and black eyed peas. Cook until kale is tender and beans are heated through.

This was tasty. I have some notes about it, so here are those:

When I made skillet hoppin' john last week, I just cooked a big pot of beans, Mark Bittman style. He said to save the cooking liquid and beans for use in a future recipe, so I did and needed to use it. I didn't plan on having the 2.5 cups of beans and 4 cups liquid-- I just measured what I had when I was making the soup last night and stuck that in the recipe. You could definitely do this with canned black eyed peas-- just use all vegetable broth instead of bean liquid.
You already know I love curry and sweet potatoes, so there's no surprise that I incorporated those into my soup. I used half hot curry powder and half mild, but you could use all of one or the other. If you go with 3 teaspoons mild curry powder, I would recommend adding in some cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes or a minced jalapeno, just to give the soup some dimension.
When I made a rough draft of the recipe, I was going to leave everything chunky and brothy. But when I got to making the soup, I decided to puree most of it and just have the beans and kale as my texture. While I love a creamy soup, Edwin prefers a chunkier version. We both loved the flavors of this, but I think I will try not pureeing next go round and see if we like that better.
Overall, I'm pleased with the soup. EDW and I will happily eat the leftovers, but I'm not sure it's a life-changing recipe. Edwin gives it between a 6.5 and 7, and I'm giving it between a 7.5 and 8. Definitely edible and satisfying, but I think I can do better. I do love the black eyed peas, kale and curry combination, so I'm glad that worked out.

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