Good Soups: White Bean, Sweet Potato and Tasso Soup

I love a good hearty soup in the winter time. This year I tried a new soup–White Bean, Sweet Potato and Tasso Soup. The inspiration for this recipe is a Cuban soup and comes from a tiny restaurant featuring International foods in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. With spring arriving; I need to get this recipe post done.

My friend, Ada, took me to the restaurant, called “A Bowl of Good,” when I was visiting Harrisonburg, Virginia, last fall. 

The restaurant features soups, one-bowl dinners, breads, coffee from cuisines all over the world. It is a Mennonite restaurant and the focus is on world agriculture.

The Cuban soup featuring white beans and sweet potatoes caught my attention, as these are ingredients in our Louisiana cuisine, too.

I made the soup from memory; didn’t have the photos at the time I made the soup. In the spirit of Cuban-inspired soups, I included white beans, sweet potato and lots of vegetable seasonings–onions, garlic, colorful bell peppers (red, green and yellow-left over from a catering event) and cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes, black pepper and a bay leaf.

To add local flavor, I included several Louisiana ingredients. Sweet potatoes are a Louisiana agricultural product; they are still readily available in stores. Trappey’s is a Louisiana brand; canning many types of beans. Tasso pork is a Cajun product. It is cured similar to ham; but uses the shoulder rather than the hind quarter. It is used as a seasoning ingredient in many Cajun dishes; I added it to give the soup a meaty, smoked flavor.

Since I was pressed for time, I used canned beans rather than dried navy beans. The soup could also be made with dried beans, cook them until almost done for several hours prior to adding the sweet potatoes and bell peppers. However, by using canned beans, this soup was easy and quick to make — less than an hour. Draining the canned beans and rinsing under water removes some of the salt, too.

I think my soup turned out well. With sweet potatoes, bell peppers and beans it’s a healthy soup, too. A one-pot meal. Delicious.

White Bean, Sweet Potato and Tasso Soup

  • Servings: makes 6 cups
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup diced red, green and yellow bell pepper
  • 8 oz tasso pork or smoked ham, diced
  • 2 quarts Swanson 33% less sodium chicken broth
  • 1-15.5 oz can Navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground oregano
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-12 oz sweet potato (2-1/2 cups) peeled and diced

Method and Steps:

  1. Add oil to medium pot, heat over medium high heat. Add chopped onion, turn to medium and cook and stir for 5 minutes until onion is translucent.
  2. Add minced garlic and and bell peppers, cook an additional 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add diced tasso pork (or smoked ham), cook and stir for several additional minutes.
  4. Add chicken broth, drained Navy beans and stir to combine.
  5. Then add seasonings of cumin, oregano, black pepper, red pepper flakes and bay leaf.
  6. Add the diced sweet potato. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cook for 30 minutes until the sweet potato is tender.
  7. Remove bay leaf before serving.

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