Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sweet and Spicy

This week's Platinum Chef Challenge ingredients were garlic, sweet potatoes, chocolate, cilantro, and yogurt. Originally I was going to be suuuuper boring, and make sweet potato fries, but then I became inspired.

Last week, Michele made a peanut soup for the Platinum Chef Challenge. Soup? Soup is a brilliant idea! With the cilantro, I immediately thought of a southwestern soup, something spicy. And then I remember mole, a Mexican sauce made from chocolate and chilies. I had made it once before and just the process of making it made me cough from the chilies! Well in order to conteract the spiciness I knew I would need something sweet, I decided to add the mole to a sweet potato and carrot based soup (not a bisque, this one is cream free and healthy enough for even Wee-Mo to eat). Add the yogurt also helped by adding something cool and healthy to this spicy mix.

Truth is, this is one of my favorite things I have ever made. I loved the thickness of the soup. The spice from the mole perfectly complements the sweetness of the sweet potato. I'm actually kinda surprised that I was able to use all the ingredients in one dish, but I am so proud of myself!

Southwestern Soup with Mole
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced leek (about 1 large)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 pound carrots, chopped
1 whole habanero pepper
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 1/2 cups water
1 cup chopped peeled sweet potato
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper strips
1/2 cup red bell pepper strips
1 tablespoon minced seeded jalapeño pepper
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with garlic and onion, undrained
1/2 ounce semisweet chocolate, grated
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

1) Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
2) Add leek, onion, and carrots; sauté 7 minutes or until tender.
3) Pierce habanero several times with a knife. Add habanero, ginger, and garlic to pan; sauté 2 minutes.
4) Stir in wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add water and sweet potato; bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until tender.
5) While base is simmering, make the mole. Heat a large nonstick pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell peppers, and jalapeño pepper; cook 4 minutes or until tender.
6) Stir in tomatoes; cook 1 minute.
7) Add chocolate and next 4 ingredients (chocolate through cumin seeds). Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
8) Stir in orange juice, coriander, and cilantro, to base. Remove and discard habanero.
9) Place half of base mixture in a blender; process until smooth. Pour pureed mixture into a medium bowl; repeat procedure with remaining base.
10) Press base, in batches, through a large fine sieve into pan; discard solids.
11) Stir honey and salt into base.
12) Add mole. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Ladle into bowls; top with non-fat yogurt. Garnish with cilantro leaves, if desired.


  1. I am so envous of your natural talent for cooking.

    I just don't have the creativity you do but I'm learning.

    BTW I made Kate's Summer Kiss tonight and it was a hit!

    Just wanted to say thank you!

  2. Aww, thanks for thinking of me, Kate! :)

  3. 1. so not a mole fan, but that soups still looks awesome! 2. so did you actually cook that up from total scratch? if so, you are my hero! heck, even if not, that ingredient list is longer than most of the recipes i copy, so yup, you're still my hero ;-)

  4. wow Kate, that looks fantastic! I really wish you could send me some, I want to try it now!!