Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Healing Soup

Sweet Potato and Apple Soup with Honey and Vanilla

"Well, there is a neuro-virus going around..." are not the words that most of us want to hear on an average Wednesday afternoon.
On the bright side, a minor little virus is a wholly tangible and quite tame diagnosis.  Go home, chug Gatorade, enjoy the B.R.A.T. diet and you'll be good as new come the weekend.
The B.R.A.T. diet, for those of you who have been blessed with a life largely free of stomach upset, was a list of 4 bland foods recommended to eat during time of gastro-intestinal distress.  Bananas, rice, apples, and toast are bland but neither tasty nor incredibly nutritionally sound. 
And now, this being a food blog and all, we will leave such unpleasant subjects behind and embark upon a pleasing solution.

Starting to get that light-headed feeling from consuming a gourmet spread of nothing but saltines and white toast, I knew I needed nutrients, stat.  Having been told by a doctor that sweet potatoes are an easy-to-digest vegetable and knowing that a pureed soup is both soothing and easy on the belly, I pulled out a yam and went to work.

In a nod to the B.R.A.T. diet of yore, and with some inspiration from A Homemade Life, penned by Molly Wizenburg, the author of a well-known and enticing food blog, I set about making a sweet potato and apple soup.  The recipe in the book is modeled after a soup recipe of her mother's.  In the book, however, Wizenburg embarks on some culinary creativity of her own and changes the original pear/curry notes to an apple/vanilla background.

I took the idea and shaped it into a soup that had the nutrients to inspire a bit more energy and the subtlely to keep my tummy happy.  This soup, however, is not just a bare porridge for the ill-fallen.  It's a warming mug to begin a hearty mid-winter's dinner or a bowl of filling brightness to sharpen up your January lunch.

Sweet Potato and Apple Soup with Honey and Vanilla

1 large sweet potato, peels left on, cut in to small dice- about 3 cups
1 medium apple, peels left on, cut off the core and cut in to small dice- about 1 cup
1 tblsp olive or vegetable oil
Dash of salt
2 cups of mildly flavored vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 c. applesauce (1 of the 4oz. little containers) mixed with 1/2 cup water (Or 1 cup of apple juice or 1 extra choppsed apple used in the beginning & 1 cup water)
1 1/2 cups of almond milk (can use rice, soy, or cows' milk)

1 tsp vanilla
3 tsp honey

1) Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.
2) Add the sweet potato and apple and saute for about 10 minutes, tossing every few minutes until the apple is soft and the potato has gotten a bit browned.
3) Add the stock and applesauce/water combo, cover with a lid and simmer until sweet potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes.
4) Either using an immersion blender, blender, or potato masher, or puree to desired cosistency.
5) Pour soup back in the pot, taste and add salt.
6) Heat til simmering, add 1.5 cups of almond milk, and re-heat just until hot enough to eat.

Makes 4 1 cup/mug portions or 2 larger dinner-sized portions. 
This recipe can easily be doubled and invites various improvisation; add other vegetables at the beginning, change the spices, and/or garnish with croutons, cheese, and herbs.


  1. Wow -- that's like dessert for dinner! Hope you are on the mend -- I ONLY want soup when I'm sick, that's for sure. I tend toward the udon/savory spinach + garlic kind myself ... xo!

  2. Hey you're my first commenter EVER! Thanks. (Somehow it seems so appropriate too, since I really learned to cook back in that basement apartment....)
    Udon & spinach sounds amazing. This actually wasn't too dessert like, the broth keep sit savory enough.