What is “soul food”?
That little phrase might conjure up images of a southern spread- possibly not-so-healthy dishes like like fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits.
Personally, I prefer Caroline Williams‘ interpretation:
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]SOUL FOOD: food made with love to nourish both the body and the soul[/pullquote]
According to that definition, healthful plant-based food fits right in.
Caroline Williams isn’t the only person who thinks soul food was born from nourishing roots, historians think so too. Think black-eyed peas, dark leafy greens, and the all-mighty sweet potato.
When I heard Williams describe the sweet potato broth from her cookbook on a recent episode of America’s Test Kitchen Radio, I couldn’t wait to try it. I can’t help but feel like I’m tossing my money into the wind when I buy cartons of bland vegetable broth at the store. Sweet potato broth is a rich, flavorful, whole-food alternative. I imagine it as a base for all my cozy stews this winter. Let’s start with this one.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 4 celery stalks, diced
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- 2 sweet potatoes, washed and cubed
- 3 cups cooked black-eyed peas
- 2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
- 2 cups chard or collard greens, chopped
- 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a soup pot over medium heat, sauté onion and celery in the oil. Add cumin, thyme and cayenne and sauté for one more minute.
- Add the cubed sweet potatoes and enough water to cover (about 4 cups). Turn heat to high, cover and bring to a boil. Let simmer until sweet potatoes are tender. Once tender, puree with a immersion blender or transfer to a blender to puree. Return sweet potato broth to soup pot.
- Add black-eyed peas, corn, greens, and diced tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer for about 10 more minutes or until greens are softened and soup thickens. Add additional water if soup gets too thick.