Southwestern Sweet Potato Soup

MAKES 6 SERVINGS • PREP TIME: 15 minutes • COOK TIME: 25 minutes

I’ll admit it took a couple of takes to get this recipe to Yum! Let’s just say I was little cavalier with the ancho chiles and chipotle the first time out: one taste, and I looked like a cartoon character with steam blowing out of my ears while a train whistle screams. I mean, even a dragon wouldn’t have gone there, it was that hot. But a little experimentation—and pulling back on the chiles a tad—turned this former five-alarmer into an amazingly heady, slightly smoky soup. This is brain-friendly all the way; the capsaicin in chile is renowned for stimulating blood flow and releasing stress-reducing hormones, with the sweet potatoes providing a kick of beta-carotene, perhaps the most potent antioxidant.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced small
Sea salt
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chile
1/4 teaspoon ground ancho chile
6 cups Magic Mineral Broth or store bought organic vegetable broth, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon Grade A Dark Amber maple syrup
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro, for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the bell pepper, garlic, and another pinch of salt and sauté for about a minute. Add the sweet potatoes, cumin, chipotle and ancho chiles, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix until the sweet potatoes are well coated. Add in 1/2 cup of broth, stirring to loosen any bits stuck to the pot, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the remaining 5 1/2 cups of broth and increase the heat to high; bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to medium-low to maintain a vigorous simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Ladle the soup into a blender in batches and gradually bring up to high speed for about 1 minute, until the soup is smooth and creamy. If it’s too thick, add more broth ½ cup at a time. Pour the soup back into the pot, heat gently, stir in the lime juice and maple syrup, then taste. You may want to add another pinch or two of salt. Garnish with the cilantro, and serve.

VARIATION: For an over-the-top garnish, add a few Toasty Spiced Pumpkin Seeds to each bowl.

COOK'S NOTE: Want to bring the heat? Bump up the chipotle and ancho by 1/4 teaspoon.

Reprinted with permission from The Healthy Mind Cookbook Copyright © 2015 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.