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Corn, Jalapeño, and Sweet Potato Bisque

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This is a later winter soup. A weeknight soup. A mostly from-the-pantry soup. A simple throw-it-together, simmer, blend, garnish and ladle into bowls and curl up on the couch in your sweatpants and watch some Netflix kind of soup.

I first learned about this soup when I came across it on Luisa’s site about five years ago, and I’m pretty sure I went home and made it that night, and it quietly slipped into my winter repertoire.

Three sweet potatoes

In February, I tend to have sweet potatoes and onions and garlic rolling around in my pantry.

They’re the kind of produce that can keep for weeks, that I turn to when I’ve been a little lax about grocery shopping and want something resembling vegetable matter in my dinner.

Diced sweet potatoes, onions, and garlic on a cutting board

This soup relies on those pantry staples, which get simmered and blended into a velvety base, but the dish gets gussied up with frozen corn kernels for texture, molasses for sweetness, and cinnamon and cayenne and jalapeño pepper for spice and heat.

It’s fast. It’s cheap. It’s good.

Sweet potato cubes in a pot with water

All the ingredients are easy to find at just about any grocery store. It doesn’t require any fancy techniques or strange equipment.

It’s nice to have a stick blender for this, but a regular blender or even a food processor will work if you have it.

It’s low-fat and vegetable-heavy. It can be gluten-free or vegan if you check the ingredients on your broth.

Bowls of sweet corn, molasses, and minced jalepeno

I sometimes like to serve it with cornbread, which is nice, but lately, we’ve just been having it on its own.

It’s a soup for nights when you want something that tastes real without too much fuss. This is a soup for the way so many of us cook.

It’s simple. It’s nourishing. It’s tasty.

Corn, Jalapeno, and Sweet Potato Bisque in two bowls

Looking for more soup inspiration? Try this carrot ginger soup, this hot and sour soup, this roasted cauliflower soup, or this lentil-sweet red pepper soup with cumin and black pepper.

Close up of corn, jalapeno, and sweet potato bisque
Yield: 4 servings

Corn, Jalapeno, and Sweet Potato Bisque

Corn, jalapeno, and sweet potato bisque in two bowls

This is a simple soup that plays on the sweet and savory qualities of sweet potato. The heat here is noticeable, but still relatively mild. If you like things extra spicy, feel free to throw in a little extra cayenne or jalapeño. Note that if you intend to make this vegetarian/vegan you should be sure to use vegetable broth or water, and if you’d like to make it gluten free be sure that whatever broth you use is certified gluten free.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil, (such as grape seed, vegetable, or peanut oil)
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 medium onion, roughly diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth, or water
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • a few good cracks of freshly ground black pepper
  • lime wedges for serving
  • cilantro, parsley, or scallions for garnish, (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large heavy saucepan heat oil until it’s shimmering. Add onions and garlic and saute until the onions are soft and becoming translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until sweet potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender (or a regular blender or food processor) until smooth.
  3. Add the corn, jalapeño, molasses, salt, cayenne, cinnamon, black pepper. Stir well and heat for a few minutes until the soup is hot. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and if desired, some cilantro, parsley, or scallions.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 275Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 593mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 10gSugar: 24gProtein: 7g

(Originally published February 26, 2014.)

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Marlene

Thursday 4th of February 2021

I made this tonight and it was a big hit with both my husband and I. The flavor was amazing. I’m not a big fan of molasses, but it worked perfect in this soup. Just enough to go hmmm, what is this?

Patty Reese

Monday 1st of February 2021

Update: Although I was initially not a fan, (and I think my 3 sweet potatoes were overly large) it is absolutely delicious when allowed to meld with the flavors. I refrigerated it and two days later, viola! Perhaps the jalapeño, cayenne and molasses needed a bit more time to work their magic. I experimented a little bit - tried a bit of ham chopped up. Definitely the chopped scallions! Also curry flavorings go well here! Thanks for this excellent recipe. Does it freeze well?

Mary Kasprzak

Tuesday 2nd of February 2021

I haven't tested freezing it, but I'm pretty sure it would freeze well. Glad you came around on it!

Patty

Saturday 30th of January 2021

This sounded better than it turned out. If I was to make it again, I’d halve the molasses, and get a more even ratio of corn to sweet potatoes.

Mary Kasprzak

Saturday 30th of January 2021

Hmm, everyone has different preferences. Most people have enjoyed the version as written, but you do you.

Meaghan

Monday 3rd of March 2014

I made this for dinner tonight and it was perfect. I've never added molasses to a soup before and it really bolstered the flavor. Best part is, I had 2 sweet potatoes in my cupboard and not much else, so I was googling around to find something to do with them. Then I remembered *someone* had told me about your blog, so I checked it out. Lo and behold, exactly the recipe I needed! I've been heavily browsing and really enjoying your writing and photography. Cheers.

Mary

Monday 3rd of March 2014

I'm so glad you liked it. This one is a regular for us.