December 7, 2012 by currbell
December is a busy month for many of us. It’s nice to have some easy suppers on file for those busy days, All three of these recipies have a couple of things in common: beans, sweet potatoes (which are both plentiful and inexpensive in the winter), and my family likes them….
Well most of us like them. Some of us are still learning to like soup of ANY kind. But I must say that despite how it looks in this picture these soups were eaten better than most. It’s so easy for me to make the same borring soups over and over in the winter. These are full of different flavors and a great change of pace.
Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup: I make a couple of alterations to this recipie. When I cook beans I cook a HUGE batch of beans and put part of them in the freezer for later, instead of keeping canned beans around, as they are both cheeper and healthier. BTW- A couple of tips on cooking beans if they are giving gas problems: soak them over night, pour off the soaking water (you loose some of the nutrients and flavor by doing this, but eleminate some of the gas problems), buy some Epazote to cook with, a herb traditional to mexican cooking, and said to lower the gassy effects of beans. The last time I made this soup I used black beans from the freezer, and simply thawed and cooking them with the sweet potatoes right in the soup, making for less clean up than steaming them separately. I also used pork breakfast sausage instead of Italian sausage, and not much of it, since I didn’t have much. And it was eaten well by all.
African Groundnut Stew: This was the craziest sounding soup that I just had to give it a try. The flavor was fabulous (to us) and The Man was SO surprised when I told him what was in it. I didn’t have corn or ginger when I made this, and it still came out good, though I think ginger would probably add a lot to it. If I remember right we ate the leftovers over rice later on. I love that the flavors were so different, but I didn’t have to buy any different spices or ingredients. Who knows, maybe you’ll like this crazy soup too!
Curried Lentils and Sweet Potatoes: This is my adaptation of a recipe from here, to fit my pantry and family a little better. We found we like to serve this with baked sweet potatoes, and sour cream. I roast a whole batch of sweet potatoes, and keep them in the fridge for a quick lunch of loaded sweet potatoes, with cheddar, sour cream, butter, bacon. Oh, man, I hope I get done with this post soon…cause this prego girl is sooooo hungry! Lentils are great because you don’t have to soak them and they cook up quick. The Man and I joke that this dish looks like the color of a 70’s shag rug. The first time I served this was in our first year of marriage. He looked at it, raised an eyebrow, and said, “I’m skeptical.” LOL But we both are amazed at how much better this tastes than looks. If you have a family who needs some meat in a dish to call it dinner I would top it with some thin sliced grilled steak or cooked chicken.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
4 to 5 cups vegetable broth as needed
1 1/2 cups dried lentils
1 bay leaf
1 pound Swiss chard or Kale, center ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1/2 lime
1. In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and curry powder. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
2. Stir in 4 cups broth, lentils and bay leaf. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium, partially cover, and simmer for 25 minutes. (If lentils seem dry, add up to 1 cup stock, as needed.) When the lentils are tender, stir in chard or kale and salt and pepper, and continue cooking until greens are cooked, about 5 to 15 minutes.
3. Just before serving stir in lime juice. Serve with warm baked sweet potatoes (keep the peels on if your family can stand it and much of the vitamins are in the peel). Garnish with cilantro and sour cream if desired.