And so, (here in Australia) we find ourselves in the depths of winter. And even when the days are sunny, the nights are still cold and so our homes become a place of warmth and refuge at the end of a long day. And whether you are preparing food to nourish your own body or you're feeding a whole tribe of friends or family, warm meals on Winter nights only add to that feeling of sanctuary our homes can provide.
And when it comes to simple, warm and comforting, you just can't beat a bowl of soup. A soup dinner is a weekly Winter ritual in our home which is why I am excited about adding this month's recipe to the repitoire.
My good friend Jacqui of Rethink Nutrition is our guest contributor to Nourish and Nest Kitchen this month (it is her second visit, read her last recipe here) and it is soup (with a delicious little twist) that she is bringing us. Thank you for sharing your impressive knowledge about and love of good food with us Jacqui! For more where this came from, check our Jacqui's blog.
Who doesn’t love a warming bowl of soup on a Winter’s night? With the right combination of ingredients, making soup can turn a humble everyday vegetable into a delicious and nourishing bowl of comfort. Here we have taken sweet potato, which is in season now, and paired it with the smokey flavour of paprika, aromatic fresh thyme, and a dash of honey for sweetness. With the low glycemic index of the sweet potato, and the cashews and chickpeas adding extra protein and fibre to the meal, this soup will both warm you up and fill you up.
Smokey sweet potato & cashew soup with crispy chickpeas
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup raw cashew nuts
1 onion, finely diced
1 tsp smoked paprika (add another ½ tsp for a bigger flavour hit)
1 tsp honey
1 tsp fresh thyme (or ½ tsp dried thyme)
1kg sweet potato, peeled, diced
4 cups vegetable stock
Salt & pepper to taste
1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
1 Tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch of salt
To make the crunchy chickpeas:
Preheat the oven to 200°c. Pat the chickpeas dry with some paper towel, then put them in a bowl with the olive oil and cayenne pepper. Stir to coat the chickpeas, then pour them onto a lined baking tray. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes, stirring once during this time. Serve these straight away, as they will slowly lose their crunch as they cool.
Put the olive oil, cashews and onion in a large soup pot over medium heat. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the onion softens and turns translucent. Add the smoked paprika, honey and thyme to the pot, stir and cook for a further minute.
Add the sweet potato and stock to the pot. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Then reduce to a simmer, partially cover and let cook for 20 minutes or until the sweet potato is soft.
Allow the soup to cool. Transfer the soup to a food processor and blend until smooth, or use a handheld stick blender to blitz to soup consistency. Reheat the soup and season to taste. Serve topped with the chickpeas, fresh thyme and an extra sprinkle of paprika.