Place a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the oil. Add the onion and sauté for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the sweet potatoes and garlic and continue cooking for 10 minutes, until they begin to brown.
Transfer the contents of the pan to the slow cooker and add the water. Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours, until the sweet potatoes are quite tender when pierced with a fork. Coarsely grind the oregano, chili powder, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice in a coffee mill or using mortar and pestle and add to the soup. Continue cooking for 1 hour. Using a handheld blender, gently purée the soup until smooth. Season to taste with salt.
Ladle into bowls and serve hot, topped with a few slices of jalapeño, a sprinkling of toasted pepitas, and a dollop of crème fraîche.
Great for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Happy holiday cooking to all!
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Reprinted with permission from © Lynn Alley, The Gourmet Slow Cooker Volume II, published by Ten Speed Press book review