Every time autumn comes around I get my pumpkin groove on.
I make things like pumpkin cake, cookies, bread, granola, curry, pasta, and soup. Not to mention how hog-wild (yes, I said hog-wild, lol) I go when it comes to pumpkin spice lattes, both homemade and coffee shop-bought. Pumpkin is great, but there is so much other fantastic fall produce out there as well…even produce that yields the same gorgeous shade of orange! Butternut squash, for starters, and also lovely (and often overlooked) sweet potatoes. Cooking Light magazine’s November issue came to rescue me out of my beloved pumpkin rut.
When I saw the pretty orange soup on the cover of this month’s issue of Cooking Light, at first glance I thought it was probably pumpkin soup. Low and behold, it was not! Creamy Sweet Potato Soup graced the cover, and I couldn’t wait to have it grace my table as well. Read my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe.
Creamy Sweet Potato Soup
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 20 min
2 pounds sweet potatoes, halved lengthwise (about 2 large)
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
1 ounce fresh Parmesan cheese, shaved (about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves (optional)
1. Place the potato halves cut-side-down in an 11 x 7-inch microwave-safe baking dish. Add 1/4 cup water and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at HIGH for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Cool slightly; discard potato skins.
2. Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the oil; swirl to coat. Add the onion; sauté 1 minute or until translucent. Stir in the cumin and red pepper flakes. Add the stock and bring to a boil.
3. Place half of the sweet potato and half of the stock mixture in a blender. Remove the center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape), and secure the blender lid on the blender. Place a clean towel over the opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters), and blend until smooth. Pour the pureed soup into a large bowl.
4. Repeat this procedure with the remaining sweet potato and stock mixture. Stir in the salt.
5. Divide soup evenly among 6 bowls; sprinkle the cooked bacon and Parmesan cheese evenly over top. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
• Instead of microwaving the sweet potatoes, I peeled and diced them, put them in a medium saucepan, covered them with cold water, brought them up to a boil, and cooked until tender (about 10 minutes), and then proceeded with the recipe. Or you could bake the sweet potatoes if you like.
• For a hint of earthy sweetness to echo the natural sweetness in sweet potato, try this soup with 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup added.
• I made this soup a second time so I could fiddle around with the flavors. The second time I made it with the following changes, which I thought took the recipe over the top: 1) added 1 clove minced garlic with the onion; 2) omitted the cumin; 3) added the following spices: 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves; 4) added 1 bay leaf along with the stock (if you do this, remember to take it out before you puree the soup); 5) added 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup. It was amazing this way!Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1 1/2 cups
Calories per serving: 233
Fat per serving: 6.2g
Saturated Fat per serving: 2.1g
Sodium per serving: 530g
Fiber per serving: 5.1g
Protein per serving: 10.7g
Cholesterol per serving: 12mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 33.9g
I adored this rich, velvety soup, and one of the things I really enjoyed about it is that it’s so easy to customize. If you want to go with cumin as in the original recipe, you might try adding other spices or flavors that pair well, like a touch of chili powder or maybe smoked paprika. Or instead you could try this soup seasoned with sage, thyme, and browned butter. And I loved the cinnamon and warm spices variation that I listed in the Tips above. This soup is truly like a blank slate with endless possibilities.
Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?
Yes! I love the fact that sweet potato was featured instead of the ubiquitous pumpkin and it was still an absolutely perfect autumnal dish. In fact, I think this soup would be an amazing first course for Thanksgiving dinner!