I was pretty darn proud of this. Surprised even. It is so different from my typical soup repertoire. Last night I decided to go on a no gluten, no dairy, and no sugar diet from now until January 1st. That’s 23 LONG days. I want to get a jump-start on the new year and to go into 2017 feeling my best. So after a juice fest in my kitchen all morning, I decided to use up some of the veggies lingering on my counter and in the refrigerator. I’ve had my eye on the sweet potatoes and decided that the cold, wet weather called for soup. I had soaked cashews the night before, but really had no idea why. I also had a container full of white beans I cooked earlier in the week that were begging to be used up. I mixed them with a bit of vegetable stock and pureed them in the blender to use a vegan cream base. When you add this puree into the soup, it turns it to a rich and creamy chowder. Couple that with smoky spices and you have a smoky chowder with a touch of sweetness from the potatoes. If you let this cook out a bit, the skins from the potatoes may fall of, but they add a textural element that resembles bacon or clams. I found this is so delicious and comforting! I’ll likely go through a few refinements but I’ll have plans to serve this to my omnivore friends soon. It’s a winner!
1/2 cup cashews, soaked for 2-4 hours then drained
1.5 cups white beans, cooked, divided (or 1 can rinsed and drained)
1 leek, white part only, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3-4 stalks celery, diced small
2 medium or large sweet potatoes, diced small
8 cups vegetable broth
1.5 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 cups of kale, de-stemmed & chopped
Place soaked & drained cashews in a blender with 1/2 cup of the white beans and 1/2 cup vegetable broth. Puree, adding in more vegetable broth in small amounts if needed. The mixture should be thick. Set aside.
In large dutch oven, put a bit of olive oil in the bottom of pan and heat over medium. Add in leek and onion along with a pinch or two of salt and saute 5 minutes.
Add in celery. Saute another 3-5 minutes then add in sweet potatoes, remaining vegetable broth, cashew and bean puree, and all the spices.
Bring to a simmer, stirring often. Turn to a low simmer for 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes and celery are tender. It’s okay if the potatoes disintegrate a bit. Stir often to avoid burning.
Add in the rest of the white beans and kale. Simmer until Kale is tender. Taste for salt and spices and add in as needed.