Friday, March 24, 2023

Warm Spiced Sweet Potato Soup

Whenever I'm in London (where my daughter and her family live), I try to get to one of Yotam Ottolenghi's restaurants, which are scattered throughout the city. On my most recent visit a few weeks ago, we ate lunch at his Marylebone location -- a fun neighborhood not just for eating, but for good shopping too and home to the fabulous Wallace Collection. It was a cold March day and this soup, with warm spices and topped with feta cheese, was the perfect antidote to the chill outside. I tried recreating it at home, but couldn't find the exact recipe in any of his cookbooks. So I searched a bunch of different ones online and came up with this recipe, which was every bit as delicious as the one I ate in London. It may even have usurped my favorite cold weather soup till now of butternut squash. The two vegetables are very similar in flavor when used in soups, especially after infusing the soup with all the spices. I used about three and a half pounds of potatoes, which made enough soup to serve at least 8-10 people. You can cut it in half if you prefer, or just freeze the leftovers for another day.

I served the soup to company a couple of weeks ago, and included a tray of accompaniments on the table -- a small pitcher of warmed cream, some feta cheese, olive oil, and pepitas (pumpkin seeds). The soup is delicious all by itself without any cream or other toppings, but it's nice to give guests the options, if you have them.

The version at Ottolenghi (photo below) was served with feta, a drizzle of olive oil and chopped chives and it was perfect.

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Spiced Sweet Potato Soup

printable recipe here


3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 large stalks of celery, diced

4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into slices

4 large sweet potatoes (about 3 1/2-4 pounds), peeled and cut into chunks

1 tablespoon salt

2 T. zatar

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of red pepper flakes

4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you want to keep it vegetarian)

2 cups water

optional accompaniments:

heavy cream, warmed to drizzle on top

crumbled feta cheese

pepita or sunflower seeds

olive oil to drizzle

Saute the onions in the olive oil until golden brown.
Add the celery and saute until softened.
Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes.
Use a stick blender or a regular blender to homogenize everything and eliminate any lumps.
Add more water if the soup is too thick.
If you have leftover, it will thicken more overnight in the refrigerator, so add more water then too.
Top with optional ingredients

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