Wednesday, November 28, 2007

sweet potato soup

Wandering through the grocery store recently I was wracking my brain for something to cook. I had a short list of necessities and enough leftovers in the fridge that I didn't really need to cook anything. I was getting a little tired of the leftovers however and was wanting something, anything, else.

I considered what we had available that could be turned into something edible, wondered what few things I'd need from the grocery store to make that happen. How these things work themselves out in my brain I may never know, but I'll try to make this quick and sensible.

I remembered that Momma had recently picked up more sweet potatoes than she needed for something she had cooked, so we had extra sweet potatoes sitting around. I continued to wonder what there was, how could I make it a meal and still spend little money?

Soup! which is not really how it occurred to me, but it came to me at some point, and it presented itself more as a potato soup with sweet potatoes than as an outright sweet potato soup. And who else should appear in this idea than everyone's favorite? Bacon!

Bacon! does appear and occur that way because it's bacon, simple as shit.

I'm not really a soup kind of guy for the most part. I enjoy soup, but it really needs to be a simple something to lead you to the next something, or it needs to be a stew that you're calling soup because you started out with soup in mind.

That night did not see me making the soup as I'd originally intended, and I can't know what would have come of that original thought. The idea did stick in my brain, and I had bought extra sweet potatoes and bacon with this soup in mind, so I knew I was going to eventually make it. That night actually finally came last night, some three to four days later than I'd originally conceived it.

In lieu of a recipe, I'll give you the short version of walking you through the steps.

Four slices of bacon were cut in half across the middle, stacked on top of each other and split long ways. I then cut it all roughly a half inch and tossed it into the pot which was on the stove at about medium high. I'd finely diced some onion, carrot and celery, and as soon as the bacon was almost over cooked I eased it out to drain, leaving the bacon fat in the pot to sautee my veggies. As the veggies began to take on a little brown around the edges I added a bit of flour, as if cooking starchy potatoes wouldn't thicken the soup enough. Next were those same potatoes, four sweet potatoes, peeled and diced about an inch, one can of chicken stock (a can because I haven't made any in a while) and enough water to just cover the potatoes. Add to this two tiny bay leaves, tiny because I always use the big ones first, and I'm down to the tiny ones.

At this point, if you are making this, you can maybe run and check your email or, as I did, remind Big Brother that his turn at the Nintendo is over and that The Boy gets his three hours of Spyro the Dragon now.

Something like twenty to thirty minutes will pass, though the soup is about to go into the blender/food processor, so you're welcome to overcook them if you'd like. After you achieve the texture you want in the aforementioned device, return the lot to the burner, add the bacon and as much cream/half&half/milk as you need to achieve the thickness you want. Add some nutmeg and white pepper and salt as well. Taste it and add some more of those same spices if you want.

I enjoyed it. Big Brother and The Boy ate some and didn't hate it. There's a little left over that Momma will get to try. I was happy with it, though I wasn't satisfied with it. I'm not sure what I'm going to change exactly. Mine ended up like mashed sweet potatoes with bacon, and I really do want it more of a soup. It really begged for more stock. I used milk as my dairy enricher and would prefer heavy cream, but that would require more still more stock. My aim is to keep the sweet potatoes as the primary flavor, so it's a balancing act between the three liquids. Also, at no point should one feel the need to add cinnamon and/or ginger because we aren't looking for a pie flavoring here.


SabrinaT said...

that sounds good. I have trouble cooking anything more then toast, and cereal.. So He cooks...

kittyblue said...

Try veggie stock, low sodium. Chicken stock is too over powering for this dish, I think. You could make your own veggie stock with left over veggies you have in your fridge and perhaps add a sweet potato in it too. That would help keep the sweet potato flavor. sounds good though!