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Easy Elegance for Valentine’s Day

This Sweet Potato Soup with Pecan Butter may be the easiest soup recipe I’ve ever created with the inspiration of Goddess Annapurna—and it may also be the most delicious! You can make it in about 20 minutes if you’re handy with a knife and have Easy Vegetable Soup Stock on hand. If not, you may want to plan to make the stock over the weekend before a Valentine’s dinner…or before any meal when you want to savor something a little different and quite exquisite.

This soup is simple, with only a few ingredients, but it gets an important layer of its sublime flavor from the stock. As my long-time readers have heard me say before, many friends have loved a soup I served them—and then complained that it didn’t taste nearly so delicious when they made it. I always ask whether they made the stock or poured it from a box. You can guess their response!

If you have a Vitamix, you may want to grind some pecans to make the nut butter. Since I make almost everything else from scratch, I prefer taking the easy route here. I picked up a jar of pecan butter at the grocery store. You can also find a good brand online.

My friend Eliza Hearn has been my sous chef in the past week while I recover from another bout of tendinitis. (Thank you, Eliza!) She and I tasted this soup a few different ways. First, we each ate a spoonful of soup with no garnish and agreed that its richness can easily stand alone. For fun, we added some blackened onions as a topping; this was tasty, but we both thought the onions overpowered the soup’s subtle perfection. Finally, we minced and sizzled a couple of sage leaves in ghee to use as a garnish. This time we exhaled a simultaneous “Mmmm!”

As you plan a memorable menu for Valentine’s Day, I suggest you delight your family or special someone with a cup or a bowl of this yummy Sweet Potato Soup with Pecan Butter!

 

 

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SWEET POTATO SOUP WITH PECAN BUTTER

Preparation Time: About 20 minutes
Serves 5 to 6

You can make this with coconut milk, but the soup is already so rich with the nut butter that I chose to make it with fresh almond milk. And I know you may join me in providing a rich chocolate dessert for Valentine’s Day!

 2 large sweet potatoes (5 to 6 cups cubed)
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ghee or coconut oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups Easy Vegetable Soup Stock
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
¼ cup smooth pecan butter
1 cup fresh almond milk or coconut milk
1 to 2 teaspoons salt
2 fresh sage leaves or a sprig of rosemary or thyme (optional)

1. Peel the raw sweet potatoes and chop them into large cubes.

2. Warm a 4- or 6-quart soup pot on medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons ghee or oil and, when it’s hot, add the cinnamon, stirring. Once the spice is fragrant (about 15 seconds), add the soup stock and stir well to ensure the cinnamon isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add the cubed potatoes and bring the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and let the potatoes cook at gentle boil until they are completely tender, about 10 minutes.

3. While the potatoes are cooking, peel and grate the ginger. Check the pecan butter, and if the oil has separated out, stir it back in. Once the potatoes are tender, add the pecan butter, nut milk, and salt. Use a handheld immersible blender to purée the soup or let it cool a bit and purée it in a blender.

4. Taste the puréed soup and add more salt if it’s needed. For a finishing touch, mince sage or a favorite herb, heat a teaspoon of ghee or oil in a small pan, and sauté the herb. Add just a pinch or two of the sautéed herb to each bowl right before serving. (You want to enhance the soup without overwhelming it.) Serve this soup as a first course or as part of the entrée.

Add a pinch of cayenne. Sweet potatoes and nut butters increase kapha, so you may want to avoid this dish if you have upper respiratory symptoms.

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