Roasted Sweet Potato-Red Pepper Soup

Roasted sweet potato-red pepper soup garnished with butter-fried sage leaves

Roasted sweet potato-red pepper soup garnished with butter-fried sage leaves

They say necessity is the mother of invention.  Well, last week I needed to bring something to small group and didn’t really want to hit the market.  On hand I had some fresh sweet potatoes, a jar of Trader Joe’s roasted red peppers, and a bunch of gorgeous sage from the CSA so I thought “soup!”  I wanted to add complexity to the soup and also tone down the sweetness of the potatoes and peppers so I seasoned the soup with shallots, a poblano from our garden, smoked Maldon sea salt and my beloved Dolin Dry Vermouth.  Ah, the joys of a well stocked pantry (or food hoarding, as my husband sees it).

Don’t be tempted to save time by either steaming or microwaving the sweet potatoes – you’ll just rob yourself of the luscious texture and rich, smokey, caramelized flavor of roasted sweet potatoes. Tip: sometimes when I roast sweet potatoes I roast a whole pan full, and if I won’t use the extras within a week in a casserole, soup, muffins, salad, or pizza (yes!), I freeze them.  Then, when the urge for sweet potato deliciousness hits, I’m halfway there!

  • 6 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
  • 3 large shallots, diced
  • 1 poblano*, seeded and diced
  • ¼ cup Dolin Dry Vermouth (or very dry white wine)
  • 2 tsp. smoked Maldon (or regular sea salt)
  • 1 large roasted red pepper (homemade or jarred), diced
  • 1 ½ qts. chicken broth

*Poblanos can range from “eh, why bother?” to “zoinks!” in heat, so take a little nibble to see what you’re cooking with and adjust accordingly.

Scrub potatoes and prick them all over; place on a foil or parchment lined heavy-duty baking sheet.  Bake sweet potatoes at 375 for 30 mins, then at 350 for 30-60 mins till soft, turning them every 30 minutes.  If your potatoes are not uniform in size, remove them as they are done to avoid burning the smaller ones. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and chop into large chunks.

Sauté shallots and poblano in grapeseed oil in 5 qt Dutch oven till softened (3-4 minutes). Pour in Vermouth and boil 1-2 minutes.  Season with Maldon, then fold in sweet potatoes and roasted pepper. Add chicken broth, bring to a boil and simmer 30 minutes. Adjust seasonings and add more broth if needed.  Let soup cool 10 minutes.

Puree in small batches in a blender (don’t fill blender jar past half way to avoid boiling hot overflows).  Reheat pureed soup over medium heat, adding more chicken broth if you want a thinner soup.  Serve with fresh sage leaves that have been fried in butter (see below), or with chopped peanuts or candied pecans.  Makes 3 qts.  Enjoy!

This soup is a perfect balance of sweet and savory - rich tasting with hardly any fat.

This soup is a perfect balance of sweet and savory – rich tasting with hardly any fat.

Butter Fried Sage Leaves

These babies are great to top a hearty soup or to toss with butternut squash raviolis or other filled pastas.  Don’t throw out the seasoned browned butter you’ll be left with – it’s perfect for tossing with said pasta, gnocchis or potatoes.  As you pull the sage leaves off the woody main stems, make sure you remove the thin leaf stems – when the leaves fry these will become very tough and inedible.  As you can see in the pix, I failed to do this – lesson learned!!!

  • 2 Tbsp organic butter
  • ½ cup fresh sage leaves, stems removed

Melt butter in small non-stick skillet.  Add sage leaves and fry over medium heat, stirring and turning leaves, 1-2 minutes or until butter browns.  Remove leaves to a small plate to cool.  Save the remaining delicious sage-browed butter for another use.

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