Hiya! How are you doing on this middle-of-December Monday? Hanging in there? Shopping all done? Holiday menus all planned out? I unfortunately have done...nothing...yet. It's not for lack of motivation or excitement--I've just been busy with work and my boys coming home from school and have spent the better part of the last few days watching some very talented girls play a bunch of super hockey games. Oh and I've been doing some fairly reckless eating too. While in Providence and Boston for said hockey, we managed to put away not only burgers, fries and onion rings but also an excellent late-night Chinese dinner (amazing dumplings!!) and several goodies from one of my favorite bakeries in the world, Flour (featured here in a Famous Friday post). So, especially because the holidays are coming and I can only anticipate more reckless eating, I am ready to get back on the healthy eating track, at least for the next day or two and I can think of nothing that tastes better or satisfies more than this delicious "Creamless" Creamy Sweet Potato Soup! It's slightly sweet, slightly savory and creamy but very light in the calorie department. And that, my friends, is a pretty good way to start the week, no?
For many years I've been making my mom's Butternut Squash Soup and it's still one of my favorites but unless my husband is around to cut up the squash (or I break down and buy the pre-cut version, which costs more and doesn't taste nearly as good in my opinion) I shy away from making it because I nearly cut off my finger the last time I attempted to cut one myself. This sweet potato version is very similar and doesn't require any hefty arm muscle power. It's loaded with the wonderful flavor of sweet potatoes and this is achieved in two ways. First off, rather than just boiling and pureeing, you actually soak the sweet potatoes off the heat in the boiling water which breaks down their starch and really infuses the water with their flavor. Secondly, you add some of the potato peelings to the puree (strange I know) but it really helps to intensify the earthiness of the broth. If sweet potatoes are your thing, you're going to go wild over this!!
And the best part about it all, is that the whole thing requires minimal labor (under an hour and most of that is hands off) and you're left with a nice big pot of velvety smooth orange soup that is satisfyingly decadent but won't leave you feeling depressed when you reach for those skinny jeans. Told you it was going to be a good Monday!!
"Creamless" Creamy Sweet Potato Soup
Makes 4-6 servings
You will need a food processor, blender or immersion blender for this
Prep Time: About 1 hour
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 4 1/4 cups water
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled but reserve about 1/4 of the peels and cut into small chunks
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Fresh chives, minced
1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and sauté the shallots for about 5 minutes, until softened but not browned. Add the water and turn the heat to high so that the mixture comes to a boil. Then remove the pot from the heat, add the sweet potatoes and the reserved peels and let stand uncovered for about 20 minutes.
2. Add the sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper and bring the mixture to a simmer over high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and cook until the potatoes are very soft, about 10 minutes more.
3. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup until it's smooth or transfer in batches to a food processor or blender and pureé until smooth and return to the pot and reheat to a simmer. Ladle soup into bowls and top with fresh chives.
Note: Recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated All Time Best Soups. I left out 4 sprigs of fresh thyme because I didn't have any--if you like, saute it with the shallots and remove before you puree the soup.