This is my favorite winter soup recipe. The veggies are full of nutritional value, and my toddlers gobble it up like its ice cream. More importantly, it’s impossible to mess up. In other words, the fact that I am actually calling it a recipe is almost embarrassing. You can use whatever you have on hand so it is a great soup to use up produce before it spoils. And it’s a one-pot wonder, enough said.
Here is what you’ll need for the basic recipe:
- Sweet potatoes
- Butternut squash
- Chicken, vegetable, or beef broth stock
- Cream, milk, coconut milk, or almond milk (optional)
- Something to puree with (immersion blender, food processor, regular blender, etc…)
Plus any of the following:
- Turnips- I never cooked with these before but used one a few weeks ago. It added a delicious nutty flavor.
- Fresh ginger
- Other types of potatoes
- Other types of squash
Here is the low-prep version I made this morning:
- 3 sweet potatoes (about 10 cups)
- 1 package of precut butternut squash (about 4 cups)
- 1/2 package of baby carrots (about 6 cups)
- 1 medium onion
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- Sauté the onion in some butter or olive oil in a nice big soup pot. I use a Calphalon deep skillet which I love for making soups and sauces.
- Start cutting up all your vegetables. I prefer the precut butternut squash because chopping up a whole can take a while, and my knife skills are subpar. I also used baby carrots because it is what I had on hand. You want to cut all the veggies so they are about the same size so they cook evenly.
- Once the onions are transparent, put all your veggies in the pot. Start adding the chicken broth. Add enough so that it just about covers all the ingredients.
- Cover, turn the heat to high.
- When it just starts to boil around the outside edges, lower the heat to a simmer. Add your favorite spices. I added salt, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, and thyme. Cover and simmer so the veggies continue to cook.
- If you need this meal in a hurry, turn up the heat. Sweet potatoes get sweeter the longer they cook, so opt for low and slow if you have the time. Read the science behind it here.
- Once your veggies soften (this can range from 30 mins to 2 hours depending on how high cooked them), transfer the soup to a big bowl. You can do this in batches or all at once, depending on how much you made. I use my immersion blender right in my Calphalon pot because its deep enough, but be careful because I have had to clean up some serious kitchen catastrophes after using this in shallow pans.
- Once pureed, pour back into the pot and check the consistency. If its too thick, you can add water or more chicken broth. For a creamer version, add milk, cream, or an almond/coconut milk blend (my favorite!). Bring it back to a boil before you add large amounts of liquid because it might thin out again.
- Let it simmer uncovered as long as you’d like, check the spices, and then it’s ready when you are!
- Keep it thicker so it is easier for them to spoon themselves – less messy.
- For a slower introduction, pour some of this soup over pasta or whatever their favorite starch is. They’ll get used to the taste and won’t immediately get turned off by the funny orange color. This was the first soup the boys ate on their own, so they had to get used to spooning it by themselves which was exciting / distracting enough. Luckily, they already loved the taste so it was an easy transition.
Don’t forget to freeze your leftovers to use for a lazy cooking-free night!
Sweet potatoes are ranked the #1 nutritional vegetable (Center for Science in the Public Interest). They are jam packed with the good stuff- one of them being potassium, which makes them a great pregnancy food if you suffer from cramps and charlie horses.