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Spicy sweet potato gumbo

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped

1 jalapeño–o pepper, seeded and minced

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

2 teaspoons paprika

2 quarts vegetable broth

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 cups chopped fresh or frozen okra

3 bay leaves

1/2 cup dried orzo pasta

4 sprigs fresh thyme, left whole

8 scallions, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt, to taste

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Heat the oil in an 8-quart saucepan or Dutch oven over high heat. Add the onions, celery, bell peppers, jalapeños, dried thyme and paprika and saute 3 minutes to lightly brown the vegetables.

Add the vegetable broth and bring to a simmer. Add the sweet potatoes, okra, bay leaves, pasta and fresh thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 35 minutes until the potatoes and pasta are tender. Remove from the stove and add the scallions and lemon juice. Season with salt.

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