18 November 2009

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

It's that season.

It's the season when my favourite foods are available cheap and fresh. Pumpkin. Butternut Squash. Cranberries (my freezer is burgeoning with bags of cranberries—don't want to run out!) Sweet Potatoes. Oh yes, sweet potatoes. These sometime impostors of yams (please don't confuse the two) are high on my list of foods that shine post-autumnal equinox. Strangely, however, they didn't earn that spot until just a year ago when I was attempting to detoxify my Thanksgiving meal. I love a good thanksgiving feast, but I wanted this one to be healthier version just for fun. In that light I eschewed my traditional, yet divine smashed potatoes for these Thyme Roasted babies, and I never looked back. They opened a door to something I had never experienced—the savory sweet potato. Oh, I've had them topped with marshmallows, slathered in brown sugar and slowly steeped in sweetened milk. While the last holds a special place in my heart, the sweetened sweet potato has been only a redundant disappointment in my life. In that light, tonight went to a heaping batch of creamy sweet potato soup.

This was definitely a trial run, and next time I would use a bay leaf and a perhaps mess a bit with the broth, either switch in chicken or tone down the beef. I can imagine it delighting the senses with a generous helping of cumin or curry, but I was out of cumin and not in the mood for curry. Consider this a base and enjoy it and its many possibilities. I used fat free half and half, but I highly recommend the full fat version or just straight out cream for a decadent, rich concoction.

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup
serves 8-10 (based on 2 meals for my family of 5)

1 kg sweet potatoes, peeled & diced
3 Tbsp butter, divided
1 medium onion, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup flour
2 quarts broth, beef or chicken
1 cup half & half

Cook the sweet potatoes. I opted to steam them; it's quick, easy, and has a minimal risk of burning. In a large pot melt 1 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until soft, then transfer to a food processor and purée them with sweet potatoes. Melt remaining butter in the pot, and add flour, combing to make a roux. Add broth all at once, stirring well, then stir in puréed vegetables. Bring to a boil and stir until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in the half & half. If you're feeling creative you can use the half and half to artfully draw designs in individual bowls of soup if you'd rather. Boys are 3, 6, and 7—no designs for us.


Mom said...

Cooking the sweet potatoes. Going to try it tonight on this cold and blustery day here in Virginia. Let you know what I think of it. It looks so, so yummy.

Mom said...

Okay. Excellent soup. Didn't have onions and my cream was bad, so had to use whole milk. Still excellent. Dad asked me to make it for his next staff meeting. We liked it even more when we added a little salt. We are salt people.