Soups on here at the Phillips/Kastli residence.  Over the past few years I have begun to see the beauty of soups, stews, and chilis and have added more to our meal repertoire.  Soups are great for a number of reasons.  It is so easy to add vegetables and beans to them, making soups healthy and filling.  Soups are economical as you generally end up with leftovers and the ingredients you put in them are typically not that expensive in the first place.  Soups provide a great opportunity to cut meat from your diet for a day and go great with salads (going back to being healthy).  Finally, there is a never-ending number of variations for soups and they are an easy medium for creativity.

I am not a fan of really brothy soups with a few random chunks of meat or vegetables, I think those soup varieties bring me back to the awful canned soups I ate when I was sick as a kid.  For me, the best soups or stews are either the creamy pureed type (potato, tomato basil, Thai carrot etc.) or if they are chunky, they had better live up to that description and have a body full of meat and/or beans and veggies.

Last weekend while visiting with my grandma in Kansas City, we dropped by Dean and DeLuca for lunch and grabbed some salad and soup to-go for a light dinner.  We chose a pureed soup of sweet potato and ginger.  I expected to like it, but not as much as I did and after eating it knew I needed to recreate it.

So this week for one of our meatless meals, I took a stab at it and was pretty successful.  My health nuttiness comes out a little and I couldn’t bring myself to add as much cream as I am sure the inspired version of this soup had, but it was still exactly what I look for in a soup.  Served with a salad and some crusty bread, it was a great meal and of course, I am still enjoying the leftovers.

Sweet Potato Ginger Soup

Serves 4-6

2 medium leeks, white parts only, washed well, sliced thin

2 medium carrots, washed, peeled, coarsely chopped

3 sweet potatoes, washed, peeled, chopped in 1-inch chunks

1-inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

3 cups water

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Heat olive oil over in a large dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add leeks, carrots, and a pinch of salt and cook for 6 minutes.  Add ginger and garlic, stir until fragrant, about 15 seconds.  Add sweet potatoes, broth, and water.  Bring mixture to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until a fork easily pierces sweet potatoes.

Once potatoes are tender, remove pot from heat and blend with an immersion blender until very smooth (if you do not have and immersion blender: 1. carefully blend mixture in batches in a blender, 2. seriously go get one, you will use it all the time).  Put pot back over low heat.  Stir in milk, buttermilk, nutmeg, and cider vinegar.  If soup is still too thick, thin to desired consistency with water or additional broth.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.