The cooler weather is settling in on the eastern seaboard. The leaves are turning vivid colors of yellow, orange and red and the nights are getting crisp. My brain is still fried from our super-hot summer, but I am finally open to the change of seasons. After all, it is mid-fall and it is the perfect season for my silky-smooth vegan Sweet Potato Bisque.
Bisque you say, Culinary Chick? I thought that bisque was traditionally made from seafood!
You are correct! Traditionally a bisque is made from seafood, utilizing the trimmings from shellfish. The French didn’t waste anything, and came up with a technique which extracted every ounce of flavor by sauteing the trimmings and mirepoix , simmering them in stock, adding various flavorings, passing them through a fine sieve and finally adding a bit of cream to add a rich and silky finish to the soup. I utilized the same techniques here to achieve the desired texture: I wanted the soup to glide over the tongue and not be encumbered by bits of vegetables. It’s a bit of work, but well worth the effort!
Vegan Sweet Potato Soup
4 tbl. olive oil
2 cups peeled and diced onion or leeks*
1 ½ cups peeled and diced Fuji, Gala, Jazz , Golden delicious or Honey Crisp apples
1 Tbl. fresh grated ginger
2-2½ lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced ( about 3 or 4 medium to large )
2- 2 ½ cups carrot juice ( available in produce isle; I used Bolthouse Farms)
3 ½ cups vegetable broth ( make your own or use Swanson Vegetarian Vegetable Broth)
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. curry powder
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 cups unsweetened almond milk (optional)
In a heavy-bottomed stockpot over meduim heat, heat up the olive oil. Add the onions and apples and saute, stirring occasionally until onions are transparent and apples begin to soften, about seven to eight minutes. Do not brown; if starting to brown, turn down heat and add a bit of the broth. Add ginger and saute until fragrant; about two minutes. Place the peeled and diced sweet potatoes in the pot and add the broth and carrot juice. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat to low. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, curry powder, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes uncovered or until potatoes are soft. Turn heat off and let stand for 20 minutes.
In small batches, process the vegetables and broth in either a blender or food processor until smooth. Place pureed soup through a fine-mesh strainer and force through with a ladle or spoon until all the liquid is extracted. Discard the pulp** and repeat until all the soup is strained. Return to pot and add almond milk and adjust seasonings to taste. Serve warm with crusty bread and salad as a lunch or a light dinner. Serves 6 to 8.
* If using leeks, cut off the green stalks and root end, saving the white part. Split the leek in half lengthwise, dice and float the leeks in cold water. Allow the leeks to soak for 20 minutes, occasionally agitating to water to loosen the grit . Remove the leeks from the water with a slotted spoon and discard the water. Run the leeks in cold water in a colander for a minute and drain. Proceed with the recipe.
**I saved the pulp and gave it to my doggie in her meal. She loved it.