Cooking From Memory ~ A Recipe Journal


Sweet Potato Soup

DSC09907Seven/Eleven

Every once in a while a particular combination of flavors and textures hits your mouth and explodes in your brain leaving a long-lasting impact, culinarily speaking. That’s what happened this past Christmas Day around our Christmas table. It was one of the best gifts I received—and let me tell you, I received some amazing gifts.
 
This Sweet Potato Soup was created by Mr. Brad Jensen, Executive Chef at Seven, Steakhouse, Sushi Ultralounge and Skybar in downtown Minneapolis. Our son Soren, Brad’s friend and cooking assistant at Seven, was kind enough to procure about a gallon of this elixir. That was just about the perfect amount for our eleven house guests who gathered around our feasting table on Christmas Day.
 
The grandest moment of all took place at the beginning of the meal just after we had paused to give thanks for the gift of Christmas Day and the rich gifts of family and friends.
 
In that very next moment as we slipped our spoons into the soup-filled ramekins and brought that creamy concoction to our lips, we became aware, just as the spoons passed under our noses—aware of the nutty/sweet/savory aroma of browned butter and honey, cayenne and sweet potato that was creating even greater anticipation for the flavors about to be enjoyed.
 
And then we tasted the soup. And that’s when our brains exploded.
 
You could just tell how everyone was more or less mesmerized. We all looked around the table at each other, trusting that our collective taste buds were all delivering the same message back up to our fully exploded brains:

“This is just fabulous!

A toast to Mr. Brad Jensen, our absentee guest and the feature of our feast!

Soup’s on!”

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Ingredients ~

  • 1 large stalk celery, large chop
  • 2 large white onions, large chop
  • 3 large carrots, large chop
  • 2 large sweet potatoes –
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 4 cups heavy cream
    • or 2 cups heavy cream and 2 cups ½ & ½
    • or 1 cup heavy cream and 3 cups whole milk
    • or 4 cups whole milk
    • (I know… this is not for the faint of heart or anyone with heart issues. Ultimately, you’ll want 4 cups of some combination of cream and milk. I suppose you could go all the way with whole milk, but I wouldn’t lose any more of the fat than that. C’mon, “If you’re not livin’ on the edge, you’re taking up too much space …”)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) brown butter (http://bakingbites.com/2008/05/what-is-browned-butter/)
  • 1 cup honey
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • salt to taste

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Spice blend ~ (all together this is about 1 Tablespoon of combined spices)

  • 1 teaspoon curry
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Method ~

IMG_0232Cut the sweet potatoes in half the long way. Rub with oil. Place in oven at 375 degrees F. and bake until soft and caramelized. Take out and let them cool. When cooled enough to handle, scoop out the sweet potato and set aside.)

Prepare a large cooking pot, over high heat. Add canola oil (about 1/8 of a cup) to hot pan and add onion, celery, carrot and spice blend. Cook down for about 10 minutes and then add the chicken stock. Cook this down for another 15 minutes. Add cream, brown butter, brown sugar, honey and sweet potato. Cook down for 15 minutes.

At this point, Chef Brad’s instructions are simply: “Buzz up with buzz wand until smooth and creamy. Salt to taste.” You can accomplish this in one of a few ways. The best way is with an immersion blender. You can also use either a food processor or a blender, but there are risks with those two tools because of the heat build-up in closed containers. Heat, of course, expands and people have been burned when the blender top explodes or when the top comes off the food processor. Use an immersion blender.

You’re going to love this soup. Enjoy…

A Note about Brown(ed) Butter ~IMG_0233

To make browned butter, simply melt some butter (I prefer unsalted for this) in a small saucepan on the stove. Continue cooking it on medium-high heat until the butter boils and begins to brown. Don’t worry if your butter bubbles or foams; just keep cooking it. When the butter begins to brown, you will see specks of darker brown develop at the bottom of the pan. Stir these up and cook until the butter has a nice and even dark honey color. Remove from heat and transfer to another container to cool.

Browned butter can be used in baking in place of regular melted butter and is a great way to finish off a simple vegetable or pasta dish and really kick up the other flavors.

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