Sweet potato, smoked pepper and orange soup

I made this yesterday as I had sweet potatoes, red peppers and oranges that all needed using up.  It turned out to be a smashing combination that made me think of Spain for some reason.

2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
2 medium sized onions, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (dulce)
2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon hot chilli powder
zest of 1 large orange
3 medium sized sweet potatoes, chopped into about 1.5cm dice
2 red peppers
1-1.5 litres veggie stock (I use Marigold bouillon)
juice of 1 large orange
sea salt and ground black pepper

  1.  In a large saucepan, sweat the onions gently until they are soft (at least 10 minutes).
  2. Add the garlic and sweat for a couple more minutes.
  3. Stir in the smoked paprika, paprika and chilli powder together with the orange zest. Let it sizzle until it smells gorgeous (no more than a minute).
  4. Add the sweet potatoes and the stock, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are soft.
  5. Meanwhile char the peppers all over until the skins are black. I do this over an open flame on my gas hob, but you could do it until a very hot grill, or over a barbeque. This takes longer than you think. Just keep going turning occasionally, until the skin is all black.
  6. Put the peppers in a bowl, and cover with cling film to let them cool.
  7. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, deseed them, get rid of the stalk, and chop them up.
  8. Add to the soup.
  9. Now add the orange juice, and blitz until smooth (I use a stick blender).
  10. Season to taste. Add more orange juice if you like.

I love the combination of the velvety texture from the sweet potato, the glorious colour, and the smoky flavour of the peppers and paprika, overlaid with the sweet zesty orange. Keep tasting and adjusting the seasoning and juice. It’s all about balance between sweet, zesty, smoky and spicey.