Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Onion-Free
Recipe makes approximately 3 quarts
As a personal chef I cook specifically for each of my clients, some of whom are on special diets and need to avoid not only grain, soy, and dairy but also can’t have onions. Thank goodness for Japanese Sweet Potatoes! They have such a delicious, rich, sweet taste that here in The Nourishing Well Kitchen we’ve created several dishes using them as a base so you’ll never miss the onions.
3 lbs Japanese Sweet Potatoes: peeled and cut into 1” cubes
*see note below on how to prep the sweet potatoes. It’s kinda important.
1 -2 teaspoons Dried Thyme
Sea Salt – to taste
2 tablespoons Coconut Oil
1 lb assorted mushrooms
I like to use a combination of shiitake, beech, maiitake and cremini for the soup. But it will be delicious whichever type of mushrooms you use. If you put portabellas in the soup you will need to scrape out the gills on the bottom of the mushrooms or the soup will turn an ugly brown color.
1 – 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar – optional
Prep the Sweet Potatoes
Japanese sweet potatoes are so delicious, guaranteed to satisfy almost anyone’s sweet tooth. But they start to oxidize as soon and they are cut giving them a very odd greenish color. Here’s how to avoid that:
Put about 2 quarts filtered water in a large bowl making sure there’s enough extra room for the sweet potatoes.
Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 1” cubes, one sweet potato at a time. Peel, cut, peel, cut, peel, cut. Sometimes these sweet potatoes are quite large so I will cut them in half through the equator first, peel only half then start to cut the peeled half. As soon as you have half of each sweet potato cut put the cubes into the water.
Prep the Mushrooms
Shiitake: Remove stems – these are great for making stock but too tough to eat. Brush to clean, do not wash, and slice finely.
Cremini: You can wash these. Do so quickly and gently using a mushroom brush. Use the stems, cutting just the very base off the stem. Dice ½” or a little smaller.
Enoki, Beech and Maiitake: These mushrooms generally don’t need to be cleaned due to how they are grown. Definitely don’t wash. Brush if needed. Cut the very base off of the mushrooms, and again save for stock.
Simply pull the mushrooms apart. No need to cut.
Portabella: While these are tasty in this soup, I generally don’t use them because the gills need to be removed or the soup will discolor. However, if you’d like to use them, pop the stems off near the mushroom cap, cut the very base of the stems off, which are quite dirty, and discard, but use the upper part of the stem. Portabellas are fine to wash, one at a time, gently, using a mushroom brush.
Scrape the gills from the underside of the mushroom cap and discard or save for mushroom stock. Cut mushrooms caps and stems into ½” dice.
Start the Soup
Using a 6 quart stockpot, put the sweet potatoes in the pot along with the water they were soaking in. Add about 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1 to 2 teaspoons dried thyme. Put a lid on the pot and bring it to a simmer. Stir occasionally.
Sauté the mushrooms
Using a 12” skillet and a medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons coconut oil. Add the mushrooms to the pan and sprinkle them with a little sea salt and sauté. Stir regularly, no need for a lid. Cook for 10 minutes or so. I like to get the mushrooms very well cooked. If they start to scorch they taste really good. But a little scorching is different from burning. If the shrooms starts to burn add a little bit of water, just enough to keep them from burning.
Give the mushrooms a splash of balsamic vinegar while cooking, to give a richer flavor.
Finish the soup
Once the Japanese sweet potatoes are tender it’s time to puree. Please note that just the sweet potatoes are pureed, not the mushrooms!
If you have an immersion blender that works best since you don’t have to either let the sweet potatoes and water cool or you have to be careful handling the hot ingredients. With and immersion you can keep it in the pot. Less fuss and muss.
If you don’t have an immersion blender put the sweet potatoes, along with the water they’ve cooked in, into a blender in batches. Just be careful not to burn yourself!
Ok – puree away until all you have a lovely, thick, creamy mash. Then, if you’ve used a blender, return to the pot.
Now add the sautéed mushrooms. Stir in and simmer for a few moments.
Add water if needed to achieve the desired consistency. I like it nice and thick, but not porridge. It’s your soup – make it how you want it. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed.
This soup is nice with a bit of cauliflower in it also. You can either replace an equal amount of sweet potato with cauliflower up to 1 lb or add a bit of cauliflower to the soup. Just keep in mind that adding cauliflower and not deleting sweet potato will give you more soup. And cauliflower will change the flavor and consistency of the soup.
For my coconut oil lovers sometimes I add a bit more coconut oil at the end – a tablespoon or two. It adds a delicious silkiness to the soup. But for those of you who are calorie conscious – keep in mind that coconut oil is saturated fat and calorie dense.
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