Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Thick, roasted sweet potato soup

Sweet potatoes are one of those things I buy then never know quite what to do with. This thick soup works very well, as they are mixed with other vegetables, and you can offset the sweetness with a bit of salt and vinegar.

Ingredients500g sweet potatoes
500g of potatoes
125 g of carrots
1 leeks
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1.2 teaspoon of oregano
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
freshly ground pepper
500 ml vegetable or chicken stock (or water)

  1. Peel the sweet potatoes, the potatoes and the carrots, and chop them into largeish chunks. Spread across a large baking tray, drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar and plenty of olive oil, and sprinkle with the salt and oregano. Roast in a medium oven (200 C) until they are cooked (about 45 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, chop the leeks and saute in a large saucepan until they are nearly cooked, then add the garlic and fry for another minute or two.
  3. Add the roasted vegetables to the saucepan with the leeks and garlic, top up with the stock, and add the mustard. Blend the soup with a stick blender or in a liquidiser, add a little more stock if it is too thick, taste, adjust the seasonings and simmer gently for another 5 minutes.

Soup versus puree
This would be called a 'puree' in Spain, not a soup. (And the recipe above produces something which is thicker than anything that would be described as soup in the UK.) Soup, in Britain, is often intended as a light first course, and even the heartier soups tend to combine chunks with a lighter broth.

In Spain, a puree would tend be served either as a nourishing first course, to be followed by some more or less unaccompanied meat or fish, so the puree is doing the job of the 'two veg' in a typical British main course. An alternative to soup would be a plate of lentils. This approach reaches its logical conclusion in a cocido or stew, where the meat, veg and pulses are cooked together, but the veg and pulses are served as the first course, with the meat served separately as the second.

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