There was a very, very large sweet potato that did not get used on Thursday night’s dinner, and as part of extended birthday celebrations, I was cooking dinner for my lovely friend Mike and a few others. We wanted to be healthy, so I made this soup and in addition there was a salad of rocket, toasted walnuts and goat’s cheese. I was cooking at Mike’s house and made use of the spices I found there (there was a limited selection) but actually being forced to use slightly different ones than I would perhaps had used at home, was a good thing.
To Roast Prior to Making the Soup
about 1kg of sweet potato including 2 parsnips (optional) chopped into large chunks
¾ garlic cloves, skin left on
1 cinnamon stick broken up
a pinch of saffron
a teaspoon of chilli powder
drizzle olive oil and salt
1 inch knob of fresh ginger, crushed
1 onion, finely diced
1 litre boiling water (or enough to come up to about an inch or two higher than the contents of the pan – if the soup is too thick when blended, add more boiling water)
150 g crème fraiche
toasted pine nuts garnish (optional)
How I made it:
Toss the cut-up sweet potato and parsnips with the spices and olive oil and salt in a roasting tin, and place in a hot oven (180-200c) for about 30-40 minutes. Turn occasionally with a spoon.
When almost cooked through, place a large, heavy bottomed pan on the hob on a low heat with several tablespoons of olive oil and the onion, the ginger and a pinch of salt. Cook until sweet and soft. Then add the roasted sweet potato and spices from the oven dish. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skin into the pan too. Stir well and then add the boiling water. Cook for about 5 minutes. Then remove the cinnamon stick and blend well. Stir in most of the creme fraiche and squeeze in juice of 1 ½ of the limes. Season well with salt (this will be more than you think, given the quantity of liquid) to taste. Finally, pour the soup through a sieve into another bowl stirring the soup in the sieve as you pour to encourage it to go through. This creates a really luxuriant, smooth and velvety texture for the soup. Ladle into bowls, and garnish with a teaspoon of crème fraîche, a few pine nuts and squeeze of lime juice.
Warm bread and champagne.