Monday, January 9, 2012

Smokey Sweet Potato Soup

I recently bought a bunch of sweet potatoes. My little one loves them (I mean LOVES them), so I bought them for her, and for us (because we are quite fond of them too), and for the fact that they are especially good for you. I roasted them all up in the oven. I have discovered that roasting is by far the most superior way to cook sweet potatoes. I used to boil them sometimes, but the slower process of roasting caramelizes all the natural sugars in the potato and makes for a richer, sweeter, creamier mash. I also used to buy canned sweet potatoes for sweet casseroles and things, but again- roasted fresh ones are SO MUCH BETTER.
Anyway. Suffice it to say, I found myself with quite the mess of sweet potatoes, and a need to be creative in my uses! There are only so many muffins and cookies we can eat in a week...
So, today, I decided to give a sweet potato soup a try. I wanted something savory, something smokey, with just a touch of sweet. In my humble opinion, the key to a smokey-sweet something is to make the heat level just enough to tickle the tongue, without even approaching a burn. And the sweet has to be just enough to balance the smokey heat, without being too candied. If that makes any sense. So, here's what I came up with! I used cream cheese and heavy cream to give it that silky smooth feel, potatoes and corn to give it texture, sausage for a savory, salty flavor, and a brown sugar spice mixture for the smokey sweetness. And it was yummy! I will most definitely be making this again.

Smokey Sweet Potato Soup

1 lb of sausage (I used Farmland's Pork and Bacon Sausage- it gave it a great bacony flavor)
6 roasted sweet potatoes
3 baked red potatoes
2 cups of frozen corn
4 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of heavy cream
8 oz cream cheese
1/8 cup brown sugar
olive oil
sea salt
Smokey chipotle spice blend- I used Penzey's Spices' Arizona Dreaming. It's a blend of ancho chile, onion, garlic, paprika, lemon peel, chipotle pepper, red pepper, jalapeno, cocoa and smoke flavor, and other spices. You can order it from the website if there isn't a store near you...I would highly recommend it! It's quite tasty!

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Brown the sausage in a large skillet until crispy. Remove the sausage and put aside, leaving the grease in the skillet. Chop the baked red potatoes and add to the skillet with the reserved sausage grease. Stir fry for a few minutes, until the potatoes start to brown, then add the corn. Sprinkle liberally with the smokey spice blend. Continue to stir fry until the potatoes have a touch of crisp to them. Next, chop the sweet potatoes into large chunks and arrange in a single layer in a baking pan. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, brown sugar, and a heavy layer of smokey seasoning. Broil for about five minutes, until the potatoes start to caramelize. Put the sweet potatoes in the blender along with the chicken broth, heavy cream, and cream cheese. Blend until silky smooth. Put this mixture into a saucepan, then add sausage and potato/corn mixture. Add more salt to taste (I had to add a significant amount at this point, as mine was rather sweet. However, I cut back the amount of brown sugar for the recipe, so hopefully this will adjust it enough.) Add more spice seasoning as needed, and even a dash of garlic powder and cayenne pepper if desired.

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