As chillier days find us, I find myself making soup more often than not for dinner. It’s easy; it’s comforting; it’s warming. And the sweet delight of this particular sweet potato soup is that it’s all these things at their best. Do a little chopping, sit and chat while things are simmering, blend the good blend, and suddenly, with very little effort, you’ve arrived at a dinner that is so good all you’ll hear at the table is slurping and “yumming.”
I found this recipe at the blog, Natasha’s Kitchen, where Natasha shares recipes for classic Ukrainian food. So many other recipes I looked at mess up the divine sweet potato with a bunch of seasonings that, in my mind, simply are not needed. As you may know by now, I believe the sweet potato is one of those foods that has a nearly perfect flavor—rich and full and decadent. It really doesn’t need much help from other ingredients. That’s one of the things I love about this particular sweet potato soup—its sweet simplicity.
You will also note that this recipe includes bacon as an optional item. Bacon?!? In a recipe for the Sweet Momentum blog?!? Yep. You cook up little pieces and sprinkle them on top of the soup just before serving. Bacon croutons! Each person is served about one slice of bacon—enough to delight in bacony goodness and nowhere near enough to derail your healthy eating plans. It’s remarkably good, and you can use turkey bacon if you choose. Or, you can skip the bacon altogether if you’re not a meat eater and you’ll still swoon over this soup.
So on the next chilly night when you don’t have a lot of time to throw dinner together, reach for the sweet delight of this sweet potato soup. You’ll be so glad you did—and so will everyone else who gets to eat it.
Makes 4-6 servings
- 4 oz. bacon or turkey bacon (optional)
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, if not using bacon
- 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large celery stalk, diced
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes (3 medium), peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
- ½ tsp. dried thyme leaves
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup coconut milk (You can use the canned variety, either “light” or regular; you can also use drinkable coconut milk from the refrigerated section. I used regular, canned coconut milk because I wanted the fullest flavor and also the good fats so the soup would have some staying power.)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Parsley or cilantro, chopped, for garnish (optional)
- If using bacon or turkey bacon, dice the uncooked bacon and then cook in a large soup pot until nicely crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels. Pour off all but 1-2 T. of the fat and reheat the bacon fat until hot but not smoking.
- If not using bacon, heat the olive oil in a large soup pot until hot but not smoking.
- Add chopped onion and celery to the pot and cook 4-5 minutes until soft, stirring now and then. Add the minced garlic and sauté for a minute or two.
- Stir in diced sweet potatoes and thyme, and then pour in the chicken broth. Partially cover and simmer for 10-20 minutes until sweet potatoes are tender and easily pierced with a fork. Cooking time will vary, depending on your sweet potatoes and how small you cut them.
- Remove from heat and puree soup until smooth. You can use a hand blender right in the pot or a standing blender. In the standing blender, you might need to puree in a couple of batches. A good trick with a standing blender is to take out the removable cup from the lid and cover the top with a towel. This allows the steam to release as you blend and you won’t have a popping burst of steam as you remove the lid.
- If you blended in a standing blender, return the pureed soup to the pot. Add the coconut milk and gently reheat over low heat.
- Portion into bowls and top each bowl with a tablespoon or two of the bacon pieces—like crispy, bacony croutons! Sprinkle with chopped parsley or cilantro, if using. Dinner is served!