|Sweet potato bisque|
It's time for another recipe from the Secret Recipe Club (SRC)!
Here's how the SRC works: each month I am assigned another member's blog (a different one each month). I then pick any recipe from that blogger's site, make it and write about it here. There's also a link hop at the end of the post so that I (and you) can check out all the other participating blogs.
I think fate intervened in my assignment this month. Imagine my delight when I headed over to Fran's Favs and found that I was to pick a recipe from a self-described "Italian foodie." That makes two of us!
It's always hard to pick just one recipe from an archive as big as Fran's but, with fall coming on, I gravitated toward the soups and one in particular caught my eye: sweet potato bisque.
Unlike Fran, whose folks were both great cooks (her dad even co-owned a restaurant, lucky girl!), I didn't grow up in a "we-love-to-cook" household -- more of a "we-need-to-cook-to-survive" household, with occasional lapses for holidays (that's when the big Italian recipes came out of hiding) or my dad's specialty: homemade pizza. All of this means that, after only really learning to cook in my late 20s, I came very, very late to the homemade soup party.
But once I armed myself with an immersion blender, there was no holding me back. Now I'm practically the Soup Nazi himself: mushroom, cream of asparagus, peanut, stracciatella, pumpkin, turnip, cauliflower ... the list goes on.
So you can see why I gravitated toward Fran's bisque!
This bisque is really lovely, not only in taste and texture but also in color: gorgeous fall orange! We had it for dinner with Gruyere and prosciutto paninis; I was happy there was plenty leftover for lunch the next day, too.
Fran's recipe, adapted from The Chicago Tribune Good Eating Cookbook, looked pretty near perfect (and easy!) as written. However, since the SRC permits us to adapt the recipe we choose, I thought I should note that I made a few little changes, such as adding some fresh ginger (which really enhanced the sweet potato flavor) and using fresh sweet potatoes. I had also intended to swirl in a little sherry just before serving but I just plain forgot; next time I make this bisque, I will definitely add the sherry.
And be sure to top the soup with seasoned croutons before serving.
I made my own croutons by tossing some bread cubes with a little olive oil, seasoning the cubes with dried thyme and baking them at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. I then sprinkled the cubes with a little grated parmesan cheese and continued to bake them another few minutes until the cheese melted and the bread cubes were toasty. If you don't have the time or inclination to make your own croutons, buy some, but don't forgo them in this bisque -- they add a nice touch of seasoning and texture.
What are your favorite fall soups? The Ninj wants to know.
Sweet Potato Bisque (adapted from Fran's Favs)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
28-30 ounces chicken broth
2-3 sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cubed
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
salt and pepper
1/3 cup low-fat half and half
Parmesan and thyme croutons (see above)
In a soup pot, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft (about 5 minutes). Next, add the broth, ginger and sweet potato to the pot; bring the mixture to a boil, cover, reduce heat and cook until the potato is tender (about 20 minutes).
Remove the pot from the heat and, using an immersion blender, blend the soup until it is smooth. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper and then blend in the half and half. Swirl in a little sherry before serving, if desired. Serve with seasoned croutons.