Fall is here, with its cooler days and beautiful colors, which were the inspiration for the following soup’s deep orange-yellow color.
The soup I had in mind was hearty and filling, yet not as heavy as many of the winter soups are. To achieve that, I chose to prepare a vegetable soup, relying mostly on sweet potatoes, peppers and pumpkin puree.
Starting with the classic combination of onion and celery, I sautéed them in oil, rather than in butter, as I’ve decided to keep the soup dairy free. Sautéing the vegetables, in batches, releases their flavors, so that there’s no need to use stock as the base liquid for the soup. Instead, I’ve used water, thus ending with a vegan soup, which allows more people to enjoy it.
I seasoned the soup with highly aromatic bay leaves, star anise, allspice, ginger, lemongrass paste and white miso paste, a small amount of vinegar and honey and a drop of hot sauce – all of which added their unique flavors and aroma to the soup.
Despite having no butter nor cream in the soup, it has a wonderful creamy and velvety texture, and its’ bright color will uplift the spirits on a grey day.
The soup can be served on its own, as a first course for dinner, or as a light main course for lunch, with any additions you have in mind. Try it and enjoy.
* Miso paste is a Japanese salty condiment, made of fermented beans or grains. It is mostly used to prepare quick miso soup, but it can also be used to season different dishes. Here I’ve used sweet white miso, which has a more delicate flavor than most.
* Make sure to use 100% pumpkin puree – not to be confused with pumpkin pie filling!
* If the amount given here may be too large for your needs, bear in mind that the soup freezes well. Mix well before reheating.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
4 medium-large sweet potatoes
1 large yellow onion
6-7 celery hearts stalks
About 15 orange and yellow mini peppers, deseeded and coarsely chopped
8 cups water
3 Tbs oil
1 Tbs salt
½ tsp four peppers mix
3 bay leaves
1 star anise
1 tsp allspice powder
2 Tbs grated fresh ginger
2 Tbs lemongrass paste
1 Tbs white miso paste
1 can (15oz/425grams) pumpkin puree (see notes)
1 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 Tbs honey
1-2 drops hot sauce
1. Peel the sweet potatoes and onion, and cut coarsely. Cut the celery stalks into medium chunks.
2. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, salt and pepper, and mix. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, mixing occasionally, until they soften. Mix in the peppers, and sauté for 2 minutes. Mix in the sweet potatoes, and sauté for 2 minutes.
3. Add the water, mix and bring to a boil. Cook for 2-3 minutes on the verge of boiling, and lower the heat to medium. Add the bay leaves, star anise, allspice, ginger, lemongrass paste and miso paste. Mix and cook for 25 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
4. Add the pumpkin puree, vinegar, honey and hot sauce. Mix and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 10-15 minutes longer. Taste and adjust seasoning.
5. Discard the bay leaves and star anise. Let cool a bit, and blend until smooth, then pass through a sieve. Serve warm.