Yam and Black Bean Stew with Orange and Cilantro

This recipe was great for me because it was a lesson in learning to trust my gut. We had a bag of yams left over from a dinner party last weekend, and with the price of food being out of control (plus the moral issues with wasting food), I wanted to do something with them. The recipe is from Appetite for Reduction- kind of. I say "kind of" because all along the way, I was switching things up to my taste. Which is the beauty of this. I am finally getting to the point with cooking where I can anticipate how things will work together and what I like and how I can alter things to my taste. There's definitely still something to be said for following recipes to the letter to experience new flavors and ways of doing things, but I think that this is a big step for me.

I changed the water that it called for (3 cups) to broth because I thought water was going to make it too bland (it may also have been water in the recipe b/c it's a low-cal book. Adding broth adds calories that she may have been trying to shave out of the soup). It called for a cup of orange juice at the end too. I tasted it and it was really sweet as-is, so I was inclined to skip it all together. But, because "orange" was in the title and she said that it jazzed up the yam flavor, I added 1/4 c. anyway. I was right, I didn't like it. The orange was sweetness that this soup sure didn't need. Really, I wasn't fond of it at all. I think that I like far more savory soups, and the yams really overpowered it. The taste and the texture weren't my thing at all. Which isn't to say that it wouldn't be the bees knees for someone else. And, another up side is that had I not tried this soup, I just would have made piles of sweet potato fries, which sure aren't all about 'reduction!