Cold Day, Hot Soup

I love soup — not only warm, thick soups to heat me up in the winter but cold soups like gazpacho and cucumber yogurt to cool me down in the summertime. I keep a spoon and bowl at my desk at work. I eat it for breakfast. I own more than one soup cookbook. So when I read that January is National Soup Month, and the 22nd is National Soup Swap Day, I got excited.

The soup I have here is not for everyone, including my mother and Julia Child. It’s a sweet potato cilantro soup with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. If the thought of putting cilantro into anything makes you cringe, you’re not the only one, and it’s not your fault. As food scientist Harold McGee writes, some people actually have a genetic disposition to hating the herb, but that it can be improved over time.

But I love this soup. It’s got a bit of a kick, so feel free to cut down on the chipotle peppers, or even leave them out. The marriage of sweet potato and cilantro might be enough for some, but if you love a little heat, go for it! I make this soup in a pressure cooker, so it takes about 7 minutes to cook. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, it’ll just take a bit longer. I also have an immersion blender, so I puree it directly in the pot. If you use a regular blender or food processor, do it in small batches and be very careful. Put a towel over the top of the machine to prevent any of the hot soup from spraying out. If you are concerned about processing the hot liquid, allow the soup to cool beforehand.

The potatoes don’t need to be diced perfectly, but make them around the same size so they all cook at the same time. I keep the peppers in their can in the fridge, with a lid of tin foil. As long as the cilantro isn’t super gritty, I use the Rachael Ray method (no judgment!): swirl it around in a bowl with cold water.

Sweet Potato and Cilantro Soup with Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce

4 medium shallots, peeled and chopped

2 chipotle peppers and about a teaspoon of their adobo sauce, chopped

6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium red potatoes, peeled and quartered

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, halved and cut into thirds

1 quart stock (a box of stock works perfectly)

A hearty handful of cilantro

Pinch of salt


Over medium heat, saute the shallots (with a dash of salt) and the peppers in their sauce in olive oil for about 7 minutes, until the shallots are wilted but have not started to brown. Add the garlic and cook about two minutes longer. Stir in the potatoes and sweet potatoes, and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the stock and cook in pressure cooker for 7 minutes (double check your pressure cooker instructions for exact times on cooking potatoes), or reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, until the veggies are fork-tender, approximately 25 minutes. Add the cilantro and puree the soup. If the soup is too thick, add some extra stock or water. Check the soup for salt and pepper and serve.


8 thoughts on “Cold Day, Hot Soup

  1. Yet another one of your recipes that looks fantastic – bookmarked! I am a cilantro (or, as my MIL pronounces “CHILANTRO”) lover – and I also dig the smoky heat chipotles in adobo bring.

    Slightly OT – I will confess that I do not (gasp!) own a pressure cooker, but have been thinking I should get one and learn how to use it . . . care to share tips & tricks w/your fans?

  2. So happy to hear you’re digging my recipes. 🙂 You can get a cheap pressure cooker for about $30 at a discount store, but if you want to make a real commitment, go to a Macy’s or Bed Bath and Beyond and get a Fagor for about $75. It should come with very easy instructions and a great recipe book to get you started. You will not be disappointed. And don’t be scared of the 1970s horror stories that all in-laws seem to have. They are safe and brilliant kitchen tools. Stay tuned to Cheap Beets for more pressure cooker recipes; I think I’m doing one for Valentine’s Day, actually. In the meantime, peruse the “Cooking Under Pressure” category on the blog.

  3. this soup sounds delicious! i’ve been making a lot of soups this winter and just might have to add this one to the list! love your blog and was great meeting you at the BFB launch party last week!

  4. Hi Molly!

    I have some of those horror stories you mention..although never happened to me! This
    soup sounds yummy and I will try to make it!

  5. Pingback: Soups for thought « Ari Cooks

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