Fall has arrived and that means that it is time for all things soup. I love this time of year because it means one pot dinners are on the stove and in the slow cooker. It is also the time that I can take an old favorite and amp up the nutritional value by adding vegetables that are available during the fall months. This week I had received two beautiful sweet potatoes in our CSA Bag.
Sweet potatoes are vegetables which grow in the ground as a tuberous root. Despite its name, the sweet potato is not related to the potato. Their skins can be eaten like a regular potato with a good scrubbing. The Center For Science in the Public Interest ranks the nutritional value of the sweet potato as the highest among several foods. Some of the nutrition facts about a sweet potato include them to be fat free, high in Vitamin C and A, a good source of calcium and potassium and an excellent source of fiber. For more information on how sweet potatoes can fit into a healthy diet check out MyPlate.
Before cooking, wash sweet potatoes with cool, running water to remove any dirt from the skin. It is not necessary to peel sweet potatoes before cooking them; leaving the skins on gives you a different texture and more fiber in meals.
Sweet potatoes can be eaten raw, but are usually cooked (baked, boiled, microwaved, mashed or fried). When cooking whole sweet potatoes pierce skin several times with a fork and bake at 400 degrees F for 40-50 minutes, or until fork tender. Sliced sweet potatoes, 1 inch thick, can be grilled or broiled for 10 minutes, or cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and grill 20-25 minutes. When microwaving, pierce several times with fork and microwave on high 5-8 minutes, rotating halfway through. They are popular for holiday meals, but are a great addition to stir-fries, soups and casseroles.
Sweet potatoes can add color, sweetness and nutrients to meals, side dishes and snacks. For the first chili of the season I added sweet potatoes, carrots and celery to amp up the nutrition profile and increase our vegetable consumption. I hope that you enjoy this fall favorite as much as we did.
- ¾ lb stew meat, cut into small cubes
- ½ cup diced onion
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- 1 cup sliced celery
- 3 cups water
- 15 ounce can beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 cups peeled, sweet potatoes, diced
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 cans (14 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
- black pepper, to taste
- 1 jalapeno, chopped (optional)
- In a dutch oven or large soup pot, brown the stew meat over medium heat until browned.
- Add the rest of ingredients to the browned stew meat. Mix to combine.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered 30 to 45 minutes until sweet potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Mixture will thicken as a cooks.