Fall weather and the sweet promise of Thanksgiving make me think of all things harvest. When a friend of mine, Amy, suggested a pumpkin or squash based soup, I thought . . . that sounds amazing! This recipe is the brain child of Amy’s idea, combined with the fact that I had a bag of sweet potatoes in my fridge. You can easily substitute mashed pumpkin or butternut squash, in this recipe, for the sweet potato, and it will taste awesome. I think this would make a beautiful appetizer at Thanksgiving dinner, or just a fun meal to make, for yourself, with the end of the summer bounty.
Whatever you make, savor your flavor. And enjoy the fact that this soup is actually fairly light, as far as soups go, with its heavily vegetable composition.
What are we waiting for? Let’s do this!
Sweet Potato Basil Soup
(an original product of my own mania 🙂
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. white wine or chicken broth
4-5 cloves minced garlic
2 1/2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
2 cups water
1 tsp. beef bouillon
2 tsp. chicken bouillon
2 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme)
2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped, or 1-2 tsp. dried basil, depending on taste
1/2 cup heavy cream
Sauté onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium low heat until soft, deglazing your pan with the wine or chicken broth if the onions start to stick. Meanwhile, boil and mash 2 1/2 cups of sweet potatoes (2-3 sweet potatoes). If you have a squidge of extra potato, don’t sweat it– the more the merrier. 😉 When your onions have finished cooking, add your water and bouillon to the mixture. Stir soup and add in your mashed sweet potato. Add in your thyme, cover the pot, and allow the soup to simmer lightly for about an hour– until the flavors have melded. When the soup has simmered enough to mix the flavors, puree the soup (including thyme stem) in a food processor until smooth. Place the soup back in the pot and add the heavy cream and the roughly chopped basil. Stir and serve immediately.
Now, in pictures! 🙂
To begin with, chop your sweet potatoes, or squash, or pumpkin, or whatever you choose to use as your base vegetable. I think carrot would even work, if you want to pretend you’re Bugs Bunny, loving all things carrot. I have a hard time “peeling” hard vegetables, such as this. The easiest way to peel hard vegetables is to chop them into pieces, first, and then chop off the skins. The pieces are smaller, that way, and it’s much easier. Get those potatoes boiling– it takes about 20 minutes to get them nice and soft. When you can stick a fork easily into a piece of potato, they are finished.
While the potatoes are bubbling merrily, get a Dutch Oven going on medium low heat. Sauté your chopped onion and minced garlic in the olive oil until the vegetables begin to get soft and see-through. If the vegetables start to stick, use your 2 tbsp. of white wine, or chicken broth, if you prefer, to deglaze the pan (that just means to dump in the liquid and rub the brown stuff off the bottom of your pan with your spoon).
Mmm. Doesn’t that smell good?
Right about now, your sweet potatoes may be starting to finish cooking. Check them out . . . if you can pierce the pieces, easily, with a fork, then you can call off the dogs, because the hunt is over. Pull the sweet potatoes from the water and allow them to drain.
Check your onions. Smell the deliciousness. Mmm.
When the potatoes have cooled a little bit (not absolutely necessary, but we don’t want anyone getting burned here, now do we?), go ahead and mash them up. A potato masher works just fine– no need to pulverize these with a mixer or anything. You’ll puree them, at the end, so you just need a rough mash right now.
By this time, your onions should be nice and soft. Go ahead and add your water, salt, pepper, and beef/chicken bouillon. Stir and get all those brown bits off the bottom of the pan. YUM.
By now, you will probably have random family members drifting out to the kitchen asking what you are cooking. Feel free to demand chores in exchange for food. 😉
Go ahead and place 2 1/2 cups of mashed sweet potatoes into your broth. If you have a squidge more sweet potato, eh . . . add it in. We won’t split hairs, here. The more the merrier. A little more vegetables never hurt anyone, right? Stir in the beautiful orange puree. Boy. That’s pretty. Vegetables are always so beautiful– aren’t they?
When you have your broth and puree mixed together, go ahead and add your thyme. Stir and cover the Dutch Oven. Allow your soup to simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour, at a gentle bubble, just so that your flavors get a chance to meet and get acquainted. How can we work together and be friends until we meet? Exactly. Your soup feels the same way.
When your soup has simmered for 45 minutes to an hour, go ahead and taste it. If the flavors seem to melt together into one flavor (you can’t taste a flash of garlic or a flash of onion, separately), the soup is ready for the next step.
Yes. You are going to channel your inner mom. We’re about to make baby food.
Not really. But we are going to puree this soup to be the consistency of baby food. I know it sounds gross. But let the results speak for themselves. You’ll love it. You’ll see.
Take your soup and puree it finely– you can use either an immersion blender, if you have one, or a blender or food processor, if you don’t. Basically, you want to grind up all that loveliness . . . the potatoes, spices, garlic, sweet potato, and thyme . . . and make them all sing the same song. When your soup is pureed, dump it back into your soup pot. We have a little more painting to do, and then this art will be ready for display. 🙂
Go ahead and add in your 1/2 cup of heavy cream, and then your roughly chopped basil. You don’t want this basil to wither or wilt completely, which is why we’re adding it at the end. We want a nice, fresh basil taste. Stir the soup together. Taste it. Mmmm.
Garnish with more fresh basil and a smear of cream, if you like. Or put it in cute little pumpkin ramekins. Or just eat it right out of the bowl.
Because it’s healthy. And it’s delicious. And you did it.
And I’m just so proud of you.
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