Saturday, November 27, 2010

Impromptu holiday soup

It all started with bacon fat.

Wednesday night, amid pumpkin and apple pie baking and stuffing making, my mom decided to cook up a batch of bacon for using throughout the holiday weekend so that "the house won't smell like bacon all weekend" (which, for some reason, would be a bad thing?). After crisping up the bacon, the 12" skillet was left housing a few precious tablespoons of bacon fat, and since we obviously couldn't waste it, we started thinking about what we could do with it. Inspired by an excess of sweet potatoes and my cold-weather obsession with eating soup, this delicious and savory recipe was born.

Sweet Potato Soup
(makes 8-10 servings)

2-3 T melted bacon fat (I suppose you could use olive oil/butter...but why would you?)
1 onion, medium slice (if not using blender/processor later, mince the onion finely instead of slicing)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 large sweet potatoes, 1/4" dice
4 small (ours were smaller than palm-size) Idaho potatoes, 1/4" dice
1 1/2 T chopped fresh rosemary and thyme (sage would be delicious as well, use whatever you have)
6 cups stock (we used fresh-made turkey, could use chicken or vegetable)
salt and pepper
For serving (optional): crumbled bacon, sour cream/creme fraiche

Note: Since I was cooking at my mom's house, I had access to a boat-motor (aka immersion blender), which is what we used to puree the soup. If I were at my apartment, I would have used a food processor. You can make this recipe work even if you don't have any of these tools. 
In a large skillet, heat the bacon fat over medium-low heat and add the onion. Season the onions with salt and pepper and cook for about 8 minutes or until the onions have softened and begun to caramelize, stirring frequently. Add the garlic to the pan and stir. Dice the potatoes while the onions are cooking, then turn the heat up to medium add to the pan. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper. Cook the potatoes, stirring frequently to prevent burning, for 15-20 minutes until just starting to yield to fork (but not fully cooked). Add the fresh herbs and stir. Add 1 cup of stock to the pan and scrape the bottom to deglaze, then add 2 more cups of stock. Simmer the vegetables in the stock for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through, allowing the flavors to all meld together. Then, take a potato masher and slowly go around the pan, mashing the potatoes and breaking down the soup until there are no big chunks of potato left. Add remaining 3 cups of stock. (If not using a blender/processor, keep mashing until soup reaches desired consistency). Turn the heat to low, then use the immersion blender and blend the soup until pureed to desired consistency. Serve with crumbled bacon bits and a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I have much to be thankful for this year - great friends and family, and especially the fact that my first niece (and goddaughter!) was born last Saturday. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment