Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ginger Yam Soup

So its become increasingly obvious that I am slightly obsessed with soups. I love having a nice comforting bowl of soup for lunch, and even more so I love to come up with interesting ideas for healthy soups and then having them simmer away on the stove. Its become a weekly tradition now for me to make a big pot of soup on Sunday, divvy it into containers, and freeze them to be pulled out for lunch throughout the week. Fantastic, easy, convenient, and healthy-what could be better?
This weeks soup though, well I am 100% in love with it. I had a few things on had that I wanted to use up before they got "weird" in the fridge, but also really wanted to try a soup with pureed yam. Yams are one of those great veggies, but I never really think about using. They are high in vitamins, low in saturated fat and sodium, and help to protect you against osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes and obesity-sign me up! Off to the grocery store I went and picked up a couple of yams, celery, baby spinach, red pepper, low sodium chicken broth, spicy Italian style chicken sausage, and a can of Cannelini beans (of course).

Back at home I started my soup by peeling and slicing the yams into chunks, and pealing and chopping a tablespoon of fresh ginger. I added both to an empty small sauce pan, filled with water til just above the potato line, and set to boil. Then I started on the rest of my ingredients-grated ginger, chopped garlic, celery, carrots, and onion, and added them to a big pot to start to simmer with a few sprigs of chopped rosemary, a teaspoon of butter, and about the same of olive oil, salt and pepper. Then I added the chicken sausage which I had just sliced into about 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. Let those brown a bit and cook with the rest of the flavors. While all of those ingredients melded together and scented my kitchen with all sorts of wonderful smells, I strained the potatoes and ginger from their hot water boil, and put them into my food processor, added a can of beans, a little salt and pepper, a few more sprigs of rosemary, and started to blend. As I blended I slowly added the chicken stock until it reached the consistency I was hoping for. Once we reached that level I tasted it a few times, loving the ginger flavor, and then fiddling with the salt/pepper ratio and throwing in a bit of crushed red pepper for a kick. A few more pulses in the processor, and it was ready to be added to the vegetable/chicken mixture on the stove.
What a beautiful looking soup it was! Great color from the yams, and the carrots and celery dotted through with vibrant orange and green. I let it simmer for a bit, then added half of a red pepper, chopped, and several very large handfuls of spinach. Once the spinach wilted, I turned the heat off so it wouldn't lose its pretty color.
The flavors of this soup are pretty incredible. I have always loved the smell and taste of ginger, and with the cold and flu season upon us, I tend to stock up on it. Its believed that its properties can ward off the symptoms of both cold and flu...worth a shot in my book! So while the ginger has a very nice presence, the rosemary really offsets it nicely with an earthy flavor. The yam/been puree gives a beautiful velvety texture offset with the great texture changes of crunchy carrot, and celery. Though I'm all for protein in soup as I think its more filling, I could definitely see making this without the chicken sausage and swapping the chicken stock for vegetable stock for a vegetarian variation.

This one will definitely be made again-I can feel my immune system boosting with every spoonful!

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