Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sweet Potato Bisque

Is there anything better than a piping hot bowl of soup on a chilly day? Try my version of sweet potato bisque. It's healthy, delicious and very satisfying. Don't be intimidated by the length of the recipe as most of it is spices. The prep is a little labor-intensive but the end result will be a savory, sweet, soul-warming treat that is totally worth the effort.

Sweet Potato Bisque
Seasoned & Stirred by LB Turner

Serves 6-8

2 1/2 pounds of sweet potatoes (peeled & sliced)
1/2 medium onion (chopped)
1 cup chopped celery
3 tablespoons cooking oil
16 oz. low-sodium chicken stock (or veg stock)
2 cups light coconut milk (or soy, almond, etc.)
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon fines herbes
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon turmeric 
A pinch of ground chipotle pepper (or cayenne), cinnamon & ginger to taste

Notes: Depending on the size of your skillet, you may need to use two of them. If you do not have the fines herbes (a blend of parsley, chives, tarragon and chervil), feel free to substitute it with approx. 1 teaspoon thyme or 1 teaspoon basil or 1/2 teaspoon oregano.

Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet. When oil is hot, carefully add the sweet potatoes, onions, celery and all of the seasonings EXCEPT the nutmeg and 2 tsp of the fines herbes. Saute until the potatoes are golden brown and the veggies translucent. Remove the pan from the flame and add the wine to deglaze the pan. Continue to cook over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes or until the alcohol has evaporated.

Add the chicken stock, cover and continue cooking over low heat for another 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Turn off the heat and let cool for 5 minutes (there should still be a little chicken stock in the pan).

Puree the potato/veggie mixture in a food processor or with an immersion blender, adding the milk a little at a time. Blend until smooth and creamy (the consistency should be thick but if it is too thick for you, add a little more milk). Transfer the soup to a large pot and add the nutmeg and the remaining fines herbes. If necessary, let the soup simmer for 5 minutes over a low flame to reheat. Do not let it boil! Stir well and serve with a green garden salad or fresh bread (I highly recommend the tomato basil bread from Panera Bread or any crusty, artisan bread).

Consider adding this soup to your holiday party menus. In smaller portions, it serves a lot of people and can be prepared and refrigerated for up to three days in advance! Reheat over a low flame and stir a little freshly-grated nutmeg and fresh herbs in just before serving.

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