Last week was largely uneventful–we picked up the pieces from the CMJ Marathon week, and I spent Wednesday evening out with a friend to attend the opening reception for MoMA’s exhibition of Seurat drawings. Then on Saturday I worked there again and dropped by the same friend’s apartment so she could color my hair (the box said “toasted almond,” which apparently means “grunge-era auburn”) and I could cook her dinner since, like most New Yorkers, she doesn’t cook. She had come across an intriguing recipe for sweet potato soup, so we made that, and it was quite delicious. Recipe follows–I don’t know the source, so I apologize to whomever developed it for the plagiarism. Also, we followed it pretty much to the letter (used yams instead of sweet potatoes), but speculated about interesting variations; those ideas follow the original recipe.

Sweet Potato, Chestnut, and Bacon Soup
1 large head of garlic
3 lbs. sweet potato, peeled and chopped
6 C chicken stock
8 strips bacon
30 fresh sage leaves
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne
250 g cooked chestnut, chopped

Roast the head of garlic in the ordinary fashion. That is, by cutting off
the top, pouring in olive oil, wrapping it in aluminum foil, and sticking
it in a 375F oven for about an hour.

Boil the sweet potato in the stock for 15-20 minutes, with salt to taste.

In the meantime, slowly cook the bacon – you want to render out as much
fat as you can without burning it. Then pour off the fat (we save ours in
a can in the freezer, because it always comes in handy eventually). Chop
the bacon into bits.

Add the sage, garlic, and cayenne to the soup. Puree until fairly smooth.
Then, stir in the chestnut and bacon.

Variations:

Hot Italian sausage (removed from casing and crumbled), instead of bacon. Do not use cayenne, halve the sage.

Subsitute pancetta for the bacon.

Use a few sprigs of rosemary, simmered with yams, instead of sage (remove
sprigs before puree)

Caramelized onions instead of roasted garlic.

Garnish with splash of dry sherry before serving.

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