When I think of potato soup, the first thing that comes to mind is a bland bowl of something that is a little thinner then mashed potatoes. Rather thick, somewhat flavorful; but usually, rather bland. Don’t get me wrong. We love potatoes … mashed with some garlic, fried in duck fat, baked with a dollop of creme fraiche, boiled with a sprinkle of herbs and a pat of butter; the list could go on and on. I just never really make potato soup, it is normally something I order on a whim. The whim that gets me to order it, is the one that lists all the extra goodness that goes into it, bacon, leeks, cheese, cream, etc…. otherwise, well, a bowl of white potato soup is, BORING.
We love sweet potatoes. Not the overly sweet ones that are covered with marshmallows and served at eighty percent of US Thanksgiving dinners. Instead we like our sweet potatoes slow roasted with a hint of olive oil and garlic. Or spicy sweet potato fries which have been dusted with spicy, smokey paprika. Or a baked sweet potato with nothing but fresh butter, maldon salt and fresh cracked potato. Now that is a sweet potato …. sweet, creamy and sexy.
The other evening, I decided to use some sweet potatoes I had laying around and make a soup. They were on the verge of sprouting in our kitchen, so it was definitely time. I did not have much in the house, one of those old mother Hubbard moments, so I had to get creative. My sous chef, Maggie, happened to come over and decided to help with making dinner. We found some shallots, garlic, a couple carrots, Parmesan cheese, parsley and veggie stock.
Maggie geared up with her onion/shallot chopping goggles and we were ready to get started with the prep work. After mincing the shallots we slowly cooked them in a little olive oil.
Once the shallots were soft and golden we added the carrots, sweet potatoes and garlic; giving them a couple stirs to mix the flavors. I received a couple emails recently asking why I always seem to add the garlic after browning the onions. The reason why, because the flavor of garlic is not burnt as well the health benefits are greater if you do not brown the garlic first.
After the flavors were blended a little, we added the veggie stock, as well as a sprinkle of maldon salt, cumin and pepper. Slowly simmered the soup until the potatoes were soft. Finally, the soup was pureed. The result was simple and thick. Savory and comforting. Maggie decided (for real) that we should sprinkle a little cheese and minced parsley on top to make it look pretty and she was right, it did look pretty.
Now this was a great bowl of “potato soup”.
* disclaimer, served with a salad and warm crusty bread
Recipe: Homemade Sweet Potato Soup