And so my love affair with Donna Hay continues. This last issue was seriously really good. I hardly ever make two recipes in a row from the same source much less have them turn out so well. In addition to the heart-stopping article on bacon, there was another feature on quick and simple soups, perfect for weeknight cooking.
Last week when I was at the Culver City farmers' market doing some research for an upcoming piece for Apartment Therapy Kitchen. Meandering around the tents and jotting down notes, I spotted some lovey fat sweet potatoes and thought back to soups feature in the magazine and this recipe for roasted sweet potato and red onion soup. I couldn't recall how many the recipe called for so I picked up four of them (well it turned out I only needed one so it's likely that the next post will also feature sweet potatoes). I wasn't sure when exactly I'd make the soup, but figured the ingredients are such that you can pretty much keep them on hand.
Tuesday I got a call from Mark. He was having a particularly rough day at work so I offered to go over to the westside and meet him for lunch. We ended up going to a really nice Vietnamese place on Santa Monica Blvd. By the end of the meal, Mark's nerves had been calmed and our bellies were full, so much so that the thought of dinner seemed unappealing (I'm always thinking ahead to my next meal). I figured that we'd probably just do something light for dinner, like snacking on some crackers with Manchego and Humbolt Fog, and some leftover herbed lima bean dip I had made last week. But as the afternoon wore on and I suppose as my appetite came back, I questioned if cheese and crackers was going to be enough of a dinner for us. I had also picked up a new sheet pan at Surfas while I was down in Culver City, so on a bit of a whim I decided to put it, along with the farmer's market sweet potatoes I had hanging out, to good use.
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups chicken stock
plain yogurt, to serve
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the diced sweet potatoes and onions on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and then season with the cumin, salt and pepper. Toss the vegetables to coat evenly and then spread into one even layer.
Place the pan in the oven and roast, stirring every so often, for 20 to 25 minutes, until the onions have caramelized a little and the sweet potatoes have gotten tender. The roasting time will depend on how small the sweet potatoes have been diced.
Meanwhile, place the chicken stock in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. When the onions and sweet potatoes have finished roasting, scrape them into a blender and then pour in the chicken stock. Puree until smooth and then pour back into the the saucepan.
Taste for seasoning. To serve, laddle into shallow bowls and spoon a dallop of yogurt into the center.
For such a simple soup with but a handful of ingredients, the resulting flavor is satisfying and complex. Creamy and velvety in texture, the soup is sweet, starchy, and little smokey thanks to one of my old favorites, cumin, and has an underlying sharpness from the caramelized red onion. The dallop of yogurt melts and swirls in, imbuing the hearty soup with a nice rich finish. It's delightful as a meal on it's own, but I can't help but wonder if it would be even better as the first course for a beautiful and elegant holiday dinner. Flavorful and astonishingly easy, it could be made in advance and then reheated with litte effort come dinner time. It would perfectly set the stage for a crispy skinned, golden roast turkey or for a salty sweet glazed ham.
Serves 4 as a first course or 3 as a meal.