With due apologies, I am taking a quick break from my series about the Luberon (unless you are all secretly tired of it in which case please let me know and I'll put it to rest) because some serious celebrating is in order: yesterday was my first official sweater, jeans and boots day--hallelujah! I feel like I am sliding back into myself after being trapped in someone else's wardrobe. Mais hélas, along with rapid temperature shifts comes what? A case of the sniffles. I have been fighting off a throatal frog for a while now, so it was time to take matters firmly in hand and whip up my first batch of autumn soup to shoo the sickness out of me.
Although I dearly love my Fog Soup (Oh, hello Yee Olde Ancient Bloggee post, how sweet you seem to me now and how much do I miss that kitchen and garden!), I didn't want to be coddled, just the opposite, I wanted to heat things up a bit. When I visited Mali, I would be stunned by the locals liberal and I do mean dousing use of hot sauce until I was told "it keeps us healthy by burning out the bad stuff." So, while this isn't nearly as spicy as I would have liked it as I do have Remi's French palate to appeal to, it is just the right touch when you need a little saving.
Soupe d'urgence or Emergency Soup
2 1/2 large Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cut into medium sized chunks
5 carrots, sliced
1 big onion, diced
3 large garlic cloves, same
1/2 Tablespoon diced fresh ginger (or cuilière à soupe instead of T in France)
cumin, cayenne powder, cinammon, ancho chile powder, cajun spices, heck I even put a pinch of Smokehouse Maple in there, to taste
1 Liter chicken broth (unless you are the gorgeous Jennifer of the ridiculously undervisited Gustia blog, in which case, go vegetarian!)
As I have written previously, I am convinced that my soups improved enormously by cooking with a Creuset pot, but hey, do what you can and just don't let the veggies burn--we aren't talking about that kind of heat here!
Sauté the onion in a swathering of olive oil (about 2-3 Tablespoons) until soft. Add the sweet potatoes and stir a bit to help break down the starch. Cook on medium-high for five minutes with the lid on, add the carrots, again stirring to coat with the oil and onions. Lower the heat to medium, add the garlic and cook with the lid a bit off to the side for twenty minutes or until thoroughly soft, stirring from time to time. Now, I prefer to add the spices here (I trust you to come up with your own amounts but I put a strong preference on the cumin) and continue to cook on super low for an hour but feel free to go ahead and add the chicken broth and simmer. Again, this soup is best if you let it simmer on low for a few hours and but I have done it in as little as twenty minutes in a pinch. Let it cool a bit before transferring into a blender (in batches if need be) and pulse gently. Transfer to serving bowls and top with one last kick of cayenne and voila! Note(s): You might be wondering how many people this serves. Good question. Are you as piggy as I am? Well, then not a lot. Definitely four as a starter or perhaps as a main depending on your portions. As you can see, I only had a tiny bit to have with lunch and so was forced to make myself a Bacon, Egg, and Tomato sandwich as a consolation prize (and yes, the eggs really are that yellow in France). Also, I know that you might be tempted to swirl some creme fraiche in here--and hey, whatever bakes your cake--but it doesn't need it.
Bon App' and stay healthy!
PS. Ben got all velvet-painting eyed when I told him of the collective interest in a calendar featuring his sweet face. As my British friends would say, he's chuffed!