Sweet potatoes are being seen more and more in many different types of recipes now. As society is going to healthier alternatives for meals more of the "better for you vegetables" are making appearances. I have found myself trying to make more things with vegetables that are a little better for me; and sweet potatoes are one of the foods that I'm trying to cook with on a more regular basis. I'm a huge fan of sweet potatoes so it hasn't bee too hard for me to incorporate them into my cooking. It seems like more and more people have started cooking with them as well so it hasn't been hard to come across recipes for sweet potatoes. This soup is just one of the many that I've come across lately.
When I was watching Rachael Ray's talk show I saw her making a soup with sweet potatoes. I thought the concept sounded very interesting and I really didn't know what to think about it at first. I watched her make the entire recipe because I was pretty curious of the outcome. After seeing her make it the entire way through I was amazed, the soup was so hearty and with pairing of the white cheddar apple grilled cheese I knew it was something I had to try.
Whenever I told people about the soup and what all it involved I got a lot of different reactions. A lot of people didn't really know what to make of it or what to even imagine when I told them about it. I had at least one other person that wanted to try it, Spencer, so I know I could at least cook it for the two of us. Once I finished making it we sat down and ate it; it was definitely something different but we both loved it. After I tested the recipe on us I took some to work to share with a co-worker and at first she didn't know what to picture but after I showed the soup to her and she tasted it she was hooked too.
The soup is a lot thicker and more hearty than you would imagine. Although it's made with some broth it's definitely not a broth-y, runny soup. It's so filling by itself but when you add the sandwich it's a perfect pair and it's more than enough for a good meal.
When I saw Rachael Ray making this she just did a cream, maple syrup, and cinnamon reduction. That sounded very good to me but I knew Spencer would need something in there to tone down the sweetness of it, especially since it wasn't a dessert! Rachael mentioned using some chipotles in adobo to give it a kick, but she said to use that instead of using the maple syrup. I did take her advice on adding some spice in it but I still wanted that element of sweet that the syrup would add so I took her advice on adding the spice but I also kept the sweet of the syrup. The combination of the mixture was amazing. The sweet hits you first and then it's followed by that kick of spice.
To add the spice to it I used chipotle salsa. I ended up using the entire can (7 ounces) of the chipotle salsa but I incorporated it in different ways into the dish. I boiled some in the cream, syrup, cinnamon mixture; I added some in the potato puree and then I just stirred some in the soup itself. Everything mixed together very well and it was a big hit with everyone that tried it.
Maple Cream Sweet Potato Soup
1/2 cup dark maple syrup
1 cup heavy cream
1 cinnamon stick
3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 medium onion, halved
4 ribs celery, halved
1 bay leaf
3-4 cups chicken stock, divided
1 cup apple cider
A few grates fresh nutmeg
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, removed from stems
A few pinches cayenne pepper
Ground black pepper
1 (7oz) can chipotle salsa
Place the sweet potatoes, carrots, onion, celery and bay leaf into a medium-size stockpot and cover them with cold water. Season with salt and place over medium-high heat, bringing the liquid to a bubble. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the potatoes until tender, 15-18 minutes.
Drain the cooked potatoes and discard the onion, celery and bay leaf. Transfer the potatoes and carrots to a food processor, add a splash of chicken stock , another 1/4 of the chipotle salsa, and puree until smooth, adding more stock as needed to keep things moving.
Return the pureed veggies to the pot they were cooked in and add the cider, remaining stock (add as little or as much as you like to get the consistency you want), nutmeg, thyme, cayenne and some more salt and pepper, add the rest of the chipotle salsa. Simmer the soup until heated through and thickened slightly, 3-4 minutes. Stir the reduced maple cream into the soup.
***If you don't want as much spice eliminate some of the chipotle salsa.
Grilled White Cheddar and Apple Sandwiches
1 Granny Smith Apple
1 Block sharp white cheddar cheese
Heat a small skillet over low-medium heat. Place a little butter in the skillet to melt. Spread a small amount of butter on one side of the bread, place buttered side down in skillet. Place a few slices of cheese on bread, place apple slices on top of cheese and then lay more cheese on top of the apple slices. Butter the other slice of bread and place non-buttered side down on the cheese and make a grilled cheese sandwich. Cook until sandwich is golden brown on each side and cheese is melted.
Cut sandwich in 2-3 strips and serve with soup. Use these dippers to dip into soup. It's a wonderful combination!
Recipe adapted from: Rachael Ray