Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spicy chicken and sweet potato soup

One of the good things about my spending an increasing amount of time with the flower-sender is access to a whole new world of cook books. Not only do I have my three shelves worth, but I now have his shelf to browse through when looking for inspiration. He needs to watch out though as I've already pilfered one of his books and it is now residing in my kitchen.

At first glance it might not sound that exciting. It is a
book of soups. I'm keen on soup. Especially in the winter months. But I tend to stick to the same kind of soups. Smooth, vegetable-laden soups are generally my thing. I've never experimented much with soups containing lumps. These have always been less my thing. I've always rather thought that a soup with lumps is really a stew in disguise.

I take it all back. This marvellous book contains a total of 500 different soups. Well - it probably contains around 100 soups actually, but each one is accompanied by a page listing four or five variations. There are soups to tempt everyone from hearty chowders to delicate Asian broths, chunky minestrone to smooth and velvety creamed soups.

Despite my smooth-soup leanings, I found myself drooling over the pages dedicated to 'meals in a bowl' and the first soup I tried was this superb spicy chicken and sweet potato soup. It was a real hit and one I'll make again and again. You can vary the ingredients as you wish - I threw in some green beans and broccoli that I happened to have lying around. You could leave out the chicken. Swap it for prawns or pork. Make it entirely vegetarian. The world is your oyster so to speak.

As well as a filling and satisfying supper, this also made a great lunch to take to work the next day... Or at least it would have done had I not left it on the counter when I raced out of the house.

Spicy chicken and sweet potato soup with coconut milk
Serves 4
Based on recipe from
'500 Soups' by Susannah Blake


Sunflower oil
1 finely chopped onion
3 garlic cloves finely chopped or crushed
2 inch fresh ginger grated
2 green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 large sweet potatoes, cubed
2 skinless chicken breasts, cubed
400ml can half-fat coconut milk
800ml chicken stock (from a cube is fine)
Handful of green beans, chopped
Other green vegetables to taste (broccoli or spinach would both be good)
Large handful fresh coriander

1. Heat some oil in a large saucepan and add the onion. Sweat for around 3 mins before adding the garlic, ginger and chillies. Fry for a further couple of minutes.

2. Stir in the ground spices and heat for another minute or so.

3. Add sweet potatoes, chicken, coconut milk and stock to the pan. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes before adding any other hard green vegetables. Simmer for another 5 minutes. If using spinach, add to the pan for just a few minutes. The soup should simmer for approx 15 minutes in total - until the potatoes and chicken are cooked.

4. Using a slotted spoon, fish out around half of the sweet potato. This is a little fiddly, but not too time-consuming. Mash/crush half of the sweet potato before stirring back into the soup to mix.

5. Chop the coriander and stir half into the soup, reserving the remainder for garnishing the soup.


Bellini Valli said...

I am sure we will get some cooler days before simmer actually hits to try out delicious soups like this!!

Sam said...

This soup is definitely my thing! It sounds perfect for cold days.

Anne said...

Sounds like a great book, well thought out!

I know what you mean with chunky soups, they can verge on being more stew-like! This looks really delicious though, love the sound of the spice and sweet potato together

Loving Annie said...

Cookbooks are wonderful, Antonia ! I love to browse them at the bookstores, greedily searching for new tips and tricks and ways to make something better :)

I did read your post about The Fat Duck Cookbook - and will certianly try to write up as much detail as possible about lunch there ! Wish you could join me...

Margaret said...

Lots of very good soup recipes in that book Antonia.
Only the flower senders cookbooks residing in your's a promising start.

Antonia said...

Val - it has gone very cold again here. I thought spring was on the way, but sadly it seems not!

Sam - just the thing to enjoy now that the weather has got cooler again. What happened to Spring?!

Anne - I love anything with sweet potato and spices. Delicious!

Annie - me too - I spend far too much time browsing the cookery section in book stores.

Margaret - I know... At leat he gets to benefit from it - I saved some of the soup for him!

Joie de vivre said...

Yum, yum, yum. Yes, the world is your oyster now that you've discovered chunky soups!

Maria♥ said...

Antonia, I adore soups and I love the look and sound of this Spicy Chicken and Sweet Potato Soup!


Maria♥ said...

Btw that book sounds great and I don't have many soup books in my collection. I'm adding this one to my amazon wishlist!