While always willing to go prospecting in the pantry any time of year, I typically cook with local ingredients in season. I associate tomatoes and peppers with an earlier season than sweet potatoes but it turns out that they overlap at this point in time. The last tomatoes and peppers are ripening as the first carrots and sweet potatoes emerge. Hence this tasty soup that can be adapted multiple ways.
I made enough of the basic soup for two meals. For one, I added cumin and the smoked Spanish paprika called pimenton, and for the second, a tangy cilantro cream. For a spicier soup, I could have used some of that ancho chile powder that I brought back from the San Francisco Farmers’ Market a few weeks ago.
Tomato, Pepper and Sweet Potato Soup
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red Bell or Anaheim pepper, diced
1-2 hot red peppers, diced
1 very large or two medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small dice
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
3-4 medium field tomatoes or 6 plum tomatoes, chopped
½ c or more water
Seasoning alternatives: cumin and pimenton, or garnish of cilantro mixed with sour cream.
Saute the onion and peppers in a splash of olive oil until they start to soften. If using pimenton (or paprika) and cumin, add it now and stir to incorporate into the vegetable mix. Add sweet potatoes and carrots and sauté them to coat the surfaces. Add the tomatoes, water and a little salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer until all of the vegetables are tender, adding more water if the mixture is too thick. Puree the soup mixture and serve hot, with the optional garnish.