If I have to sum up this soup in a word: awesome. If I have to use more words, I'd say: its creamy texture and gentle sweet potato flavour evoke the best of comfort foods, but it's not done playing with your taste buds yet. The flavours soon give way to a delightful spiciness that lingers delightfully on the palate, while roast chickpeas deliver crunch.
I started with this recipe as a way of using up leftover sweet potatoes. The problem was, I already had quadruple the quantity of spuds needed. I was also wary of using three cans of coconut milk, so I decided to substitute vegetable broth for some of the coconut milk. The version below includes these and other tweaks along the way. Makes 8 servings.
Prepare the chickpeas:
Instead of following the recipe's instructions for the chickpeas, I roasted them in the same dressing used in my roasted sweet potato and chickpea salad with couscous, vegetable and honey-chile dressing.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 2T apple cider vinegar, 1T honey, 1T orange juice, 1/2T Russian-style mustard, 1 tsp orange zest, 1 tsp sambal oelek, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground cardamom and 1/4 tsp salt. Drain one can of chickpeas and toss with the dressing. Spread the chickpeas in a single layer on a baking sheet, then roast at 375 for 40 minutes. (Don't put them on the top rack in your oven to avoid them turning out like some of mine).
Make the broth:
Peel and dice 4 sweet potatoes, 1 sweet onion and 2 cloves garlic, then set aside. Heat 1T oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, then add 3T curry powder and 1/2 tsp cayenne. Cook for several minutes to enhance the flavour of the spices. Reduce the heat slightly, then add the onions and sweat them for several minutes, stirring regularly, until translucent. Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Add sweet potatoes and 1 can chickpeas (see note below) and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add 1 can coconut milk, 2 - 32oz packages of vegetable broth, 1T sambal oelek, 4 Kaffir lime leaves, 1T salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and simmer for another 25 minutes. Puree the soup using a regular or immersion blender. Serve piping hot topped with roast chickpeas.
I was pleasantly surprised by the creaminess of the end result, but I found the texture a little thin. That's why I'm suggesting adding a can of chickpeas directly to the broth. My caveat is that I have not yet tried this myself!