Sweet potatoes are a bit of an enigma to me. I always thought that sweet potatoes were orange, but then one day I bought some and was surprised when I peeled one that the flesh looked just a tiny bit more orange than a regular potato. It was the skin that was different. For some reason I thought the magic would happen when the potato cooked – but seriously, I am not sure what I was thinking. The cooked potato looked exactly like the raw one – and it wasn’t orange.
The next time I was in the market to buy some sweet potatoes, I noticed how the yams were different – the flesh actually looked orange. So, that’s what I bought – and sure enough, it was as orange as can be. And absolutely beautiful. Ok, so I know that sweet potatoes and yams are supposed to taste the same, but for some reason the orange yams taste better to me. It is amazing what a little color can do to your taste buds. Ok, this has got to just be in my head.
I found this recipe in Cooking Light and it was the color that attracted me. I am not a huge sweet potato soup fan, but I knew that with a color like that, and some bacon crumbles – how could I not love it. It was a very simple soup – one of the simplest I have made – but the recipe was all wrong. It called for sweet potatoes, and I knew that if I really used them, it would have no color at all. So – I used yams – and sure enough, orange like the sun. This soup was not only delicious, but as my neighbor described it – velvety – and that was exactly the texture. The bacon crumbles gave it a nice salty taste that was a perfect balance with the sweet soup. The only thing left to change now, is the name…but Creamy Yam Soup just doesn’t sound as good, right?
- 2 pounds yams, halved lengthwise (about 2 large)
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 4 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
- 1 ounce fresh Parmesan cheese, shaved (about 1/4 cup)
- 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves (optional)
Place potatoes, cut sides down, in an 11 x 7-inch microwave-safe baking dish. Add 1/4 cup water; cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at HIGH 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Cool slightly; discard potato skins.
Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 1 minute or until translucent. Stir in cumin and red pepper. Add stock to pan; bring to a boil. Place half of sweet potato and half of stock mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters); blend until smooth. Pour pureed soup into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining sweet potato and stock mixture. Stir in salt. Divide soup evenly among 6 bowls; sprinkle cooked bacon and Parmesan cheese evenly over top. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
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