Doesn't a gingery sweet potato soup sound lovely?
Doesn't it look nice in that photo -- all orange and warm?
Don't you think that it would be delicious and the perfect meal on a wintery night?
That's where you'd be wrong.
This soup was part of a "Post Holiday Detox" feature in Food & Wine. So when we decided to make it we knew it would be on the light side (unlike this rich goodness).
In contrast to most things we cook, the recipe calls for no oil, no butter and no cream.
It's 100% vegetables, water and spices.
So our expectations were set.
It wouldn't be rich. Or buttery. Or, you know, filled with bacon.
And after the gluttonous run-up to Christmas, this sounded great.
The soup is easy enough to make: Chop, boil and simmer some vegetables & spices. Place the sweet potatoes in a blender, strain the rest. Blend and add in some reserved broth. Stir in some hot stuff (we used Sriracha instead of sambal oelek). Serve & garnish with lime and cilantro.
It looked and smelled great.
Prior to serving it, we eagerly stuck in spoons to taste and it was . . . BLAND.
It didn't taste like ginger or sweet potatoes. It tasted like hot water that had been sitting in a room with some ginger and sweet potatoes.
No, not even that -- it was like hot water that had been sitting in a room where on the wall there was a poster with a picture of ginger and sweet potatoes.
This soup doesn't seem like it should be bland. One serving contains (or is flavored with) an onion, two garlic cloves, fresh ginger, a lemongrass stalk, a ½ pound sweet potato, and ½ teaspoon of hot sauce.
That's a lot of flavor!
But it wasn't flavorful at all, so we started deviating wildly from the recipe. We kept adding more spices, more salt & pepper, and more hot sauce. But we never got it to a place where we were happy with the result.
So we suffered through half a bowl each and then just made some cookies, because it turns out that detox isn't what it's cracked up to be.
* ACTIVE: 20 MIN
* TOTAL TIME: 50 MIN
* SERVINGS: 1
- 1 quart water
- 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped peeled fresh ginger
- 1 stalk of fresh lemongrass, thinly sliced crosswise
- One 1/2-pound sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon sambal oelek or other Asian hot sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- Lime wedge, for serving
1. In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil with the onion, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and sweet potato. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes until the potato is tender.
2. Transfer the sweet potato to a blender. Strain the broth; add 1 cup to the blender and reserve the rest for another use. Puree the sweet potato soup.
3. Return the soup to the saucepan. Stir in the sambal oelek, season with salt and simmer until heated through. Pour the soup into a bowl, top with the cilantro and serve with the lime wedge.