Monday, January 27, 2014

Recipe: Sweet Potato Leek Soup

If you hang out here on a semi-regular basis, you probably know that I'm a bit of a nutcase when it comes to wanting to know where my food comes from.  Part of it comes from watching all those funky Food documentaries on Netflix (Food, Inc., King Corn, Frankensteer, etc.), and part of it is probably hereditary (my mom grew up on a farm, and my dad and I spent a couple of years "Playing Farmer" on her old homestead in Utah, after we'd inherited it from Grandpa).

And if you happen to know ME in the real world, you'll know I don't "Do" resolutions.

Howsomever...  The two don't have to be mutually exclusive.  I mean, we did buy Spreckles, the Fair Pig, a couple of years ago (and we've still got some pork chops and ribs in the freezer!).  And I do subscribe to Farm Fresh To You - where I get a monthly delivery of fresh organic produce (used to be weekly, but we just couldn't eat through THAT much produce!).

Now, I recently discovered that one of our local Farmer's Markets is actually open year-round (Yay!), so that brings me to my NON-Resolution for 2014:  Wherever possible, I am going to refrain from buying produce at the grocery store (in spite of the fact that, yes, they do have a decent selection of organics).  Instead, I am going to make an effort to :::GASP::: "Plan-ahead" and buy all of my produce at the Farmer's Market.

I might even take it a step further and try to convince myself to actually WALK to the Farmer's Market - but that's more of a long-range goal (since I've only recently regained the ability to walk!).

So anyhoooo...  My stash of sweet potatoes from the Farm-Share delivery was getting a bit overwhelming.  I also had a couple of leeks that were threatening to get mushy. I know I like Potato-Leek Soup - but potatoes don't exactly love me (carbs, ya know?). Sweet potatoes, surprisingly, are lower in net carbs and also lower on the glycemic index. And, frankly, I think sweet 'taters taste better.  So I decided to Google "Sweet Potato Leek Soup" and found this recipe.

But also in the course of my Googling, I discovered that has a feature where you can key in all sort of different ingredients and it'll come back with some recipe ideas.  So I tried various combinations of ingredients (including cauliflower and corn) and ended up finding this recipe.

So those two recipes were kind of my starting point for today's creation...

Mmmm! Soup!

QT's Sweet Potato Leek Soup
Yields - appx 6 generous servings

  • 2 leeks
  • 2 ribs celery
  • appx 1-1/2 lbs small sweet potatoes (in my case, appx 11 small spuds)
  • 1 shallot (optional - I had it on-hand)
  • 1/2 head cauliflower
  • 32 oz chicken (or vegetable) stock
  • 2-3 cups corn kernels (I used frozen)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup cooking sherry
  • appx 2 TBS Extra Virgin olive oil (I used garlic-infused EVOO)
  • garlic sea salt
  • white pepper
  • Seasoning Salt (whatever brand you happen to like)
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • dash of smoked paprika
  1. Wash and slice the white and light-green parts of your leeks into small "rounds."  I liked the first recipe's suggestion to use the salad spinner for cleaning the leeks after they are sliced (MUCH easier!).  Finely chop your celery and shallot. Coarsely chop your cauliflower.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot (I used my 4.25 qt dutch oven), then add the chopped veggies. Saute lightly on medium heat 'til limp and translucent (the cauliflower won't go limp, but it will begin to soften).  Do not brown your veggies - you just want 'em soft.
  3. Peel and slice your sweet potatoes into "coins" while the veggies are limpifying.  Then add the sweet taters to the pot and saute them lightly.
  4. Pour the chicken (or veggie) stock into the pot.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer.  Cover and let it blorp for awhile.  I think it took roughly 30-45 minutes for the taters and cauliflower to get truly mushy - but that's what you're going for...
  5. Turn off the heat and let it cool just a bit.  Then grab your immersion blender and puree the soup until smooth (that's an optional step).
  6. Return the pot to the stove and dump in your frozen corn (mine was frozen solid, so I dumped a sizeable chunk into the pot!).  Cook on medium low 'til the corn is heated.
  7. Add the cream, sour cream and cooking sherry.
  8. Give it a taste and decide what seasonings it needs.  I used my garlic sea-salt grinder and a combination of Lawry's Seasoning Salt (should be available at any grocery store) and Andersen's Seasoning (which is probably just a California Thing - I bought it at Pea Soup Andersen's Restaurant and have not been able to find it online).  It was still a bit bland so I added some white pepper.  Then a large pinch of cardamom (which gave it a bit of a "high note") and a smaller pinch of curry powder.
  9. Serve with a dash of paprika for color
Sweet Potato "coins" getting ready to dive into the hot tub!

Overall, it's a very mild (spice-wise) soup, but quite thick and hearty.  And I expect it should freeze well - but I didn't end up with 15-gallons like I normally do!

It really was quite tasty - and definitely worth making again.


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