Fig & Onion Port Sauce

½ large onion (or 1 small onion), chopped
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 500 ml bottle ruby port (2 cups)
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup dried figs, coarsely chopped
2 whole star anise
2 tablespoons ghee
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Sautee onions in oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until soft, about 6 minutes. Add port, broth, figs, and star anise. Boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by a third, about 20 minutes. Remove and discard the star anise. Puree mixture in a blender until smooth. Pour back into pan over low heat and whisk in ghee and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. If sauce is too thick, add a bit more broth to thin. Serve hot.

★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars—Best ever!

This sauce is perfect over roasted pastured chicken, duck, and even a leg of lamb. To jazz up the sauce, add drippings from your roasted meat directly to the heated prepared sauce, stir it up, and top the meat with it. If you’re feeling a little crazy, add a drizzle over a dressing-coated, tossed chopped salad. It’ll lend a beautiful balance of flavors to your salad.

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and sliced
½ Herdez canned chipotle chili pepper, peeled and seeds removed **(see note)
3 cups vegetable stock
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 green onions, chopped
Small handful of cilantro, chopped

Heat oil over medium heat in large saucepan. Add onion and sautee for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and continur to sautee about another 2 minutes. Add sweet potato and chipotle to pan. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Place contents of the saucepan in a blender and puree until smooth. Add more vegetable stock, if needed, to achieve a smooth consistency. Return soup to pan, heat, and add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle soup into bowls and top with chopped green onions and cilantro. Makes 4 servings.

★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars—Best ever!

Spicy, full-flavored, smoky, and warming are just a few words that describe this simple soup. It can be served as a starter as well as a main course. If you love heat in your food and are feeling a bit daring, add a whole chipotle pepper instead of a half of one.

**Note: Herdez brand chipotle peppers are beautifully smoked whole jalapeno chili peppers in a can. Many of the peppers in the can are already peeled and, if they are not, the skins slide right off the whole pepper with little effort. After removing the skins, slice the pepper in half, lengthwise, and remove the seeds with your fingers or a butter knife.