Years ago, I ordered a bowl of sweet potato soup in a small bistro in Burlington, Vermont. I expected a sweet, creamy soup. What I got was a sweet, creamy soup with a noticeable spicy kick. I loved it! At home, I recreated the soup and included the recipe in my second cookbook, How to Cook Gluten-Free. That recipe, like the one served at the bistro, contained dairy. Several readers asked for a dairy-free variation of the recipe. So I created one.
It's a remarkable simple soup to make. Start by "sweating" onions, celery, and garlic in a little olive oil. Then add cubed sweet potatoes, chicken (or vegetable) broth, and spices. That's it! The soup cooks for about 40 minutes. You want the sweet potato pieces to almost fall apart when pierced with a fork. Then blend the soup until smooth. If you own an immersion blender, use it. If not, process the soup in batches in a traditional blender. You don't want to overfill the blender or the soup could erupt from the blender and burn you. Trust me, you don't want that to happen.
At this point you could just enjoy the soup. Or you could spice it up! I highly recommended adding a spicy kick to the soup. Smoky chipotle compliments the sweet potato flavor really well. I add ground chipotle powder. If you don't have chipotle powder on hand, use chipotle hot sauce or regular hot sauce. Around our house, we like the soup with an almost aggressive kick. To achieve this, I add about two teaspoons of ground chipotle powder. Start by adding a half teaspoon and go from there. The heat level of chipotle powders varies from brand to brand. It's better to start with a little and add more as needed.
To serve, I usually just throw together a simple spinach salad and call it a day. However, it we're feeling hungry, I brown some ham or sausage as the soup cooks. A link of sausage, a spinach salad, and this soup make for a tasty--and hearty--winter meal. Enjoy the recipe!