Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

2 tsp. cumin seeds
3 med. onions, cut in medium dice
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 bunch celery, cut in medium dice
2 medium carrots, cut in medium dice
1 1/2 tsp. ancho chili powder (I used something called "California" chili powder. Just make sure it's mild and just chilies rather than a blend of stuff)
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger (don't skip this! It's subtle, but you can taste it, and you will love it.)
8 cups water or vegetable stock (I used water with Better than Bouillon)
3 lbs. sweet potatoes (I used the dryish, pale yellow kind), peeled and cut into 1- to 2-inch cubes
1 small dried chipotle or 1/2 canned chipotle, drained (I used 2 tsp. chipotle powder--much easier to adjust heat)
1/4 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
Salt and pepper

Toast the cumin seeds in a dry soup pot over medium heat until they begin to brown. (I took them out at this point and ground them in a mortar).  Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the onions, garlic, celery, and carrots. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables brown slightly. When the vegetables have begun to brown add the spices. Cook until vegetables are fairly soft.

Add the stock and the sweet potatoes. Cook until the sweet potatoes are very soft, just about falling apart, about 40 minutes (less for me--maybe 20-30?). Taste the soup and add chipotle if not using powder. Remember that the heat of the chipotle will continue to develop over the next day or so, so if you are heat-averse, be conservative at this point.

Puree the soup and return it to the pot (you'll need to do this in stages unless you have an industrial-size blender). Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Top with toasted pumpkin seeds or fresh cilantro leaves. This makes an enormous amount. Like over a gallon. I'm banking that it will freeze well.

Adapted from a post on LiveJournal.

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