It is that time of year. I really need a big bowl of sunshine. Fresh, local produce is between growth spurts, and I am generally a little tired of the dark, leafy greens that have dominated the farmers market for a while now. Though we’ve had surprisingly spring-like weather, it is that transitional time. Not still winter, but not yet spring. I’m working my way through the supply of fruits and vegetables I canned and froze during the summer, and dreaming of the abundance of fresh produce to come.
That’s where this soup comes in. I can still get sweet potatoes at the farmers market, and their beautiful orange color sustains me until the greens, yellows and reds of spring are here. The apples aren’t local, but add a tart-sweet depth to this lovely soup, brightened with zingy ginger. It is great on its own, but you swirl in some crème fraiche for added richness or a drizzled of olive oil. It is a great host for crispy toppings, anything from bacon to croutons to sweet potato chips. A little pile of chopped green apple, a squeeze of lemon or lime, a shower or chopped herbs – let your imagination run wild. Whatever your preference, I think you’ll feel like me. Eating a big bowl of this soup makes me happy.
Sweet Potato and Apple Soup
3 Tablespoons butter
1 large white onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 – inch piece fresh ginger, chopped
2 ¼ pounds sweet potatoes (about 4 medium), peeled and cut into chunks
2 green apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large (7-quart) Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions to the butter, stirring to coat. Cook the onions until soft and translucent, but not browned, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped celery and cook for a few more minutes until soft. Add the garlic and ginger, stir to coat and cook a further minute. Add the sweet potato chunks and the apple pieces and stir to coat, then immediately pour in the broth. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the potatoes and apples are completely soft, about 30 minutes.
Using an immersion blender or very carefully in batches in a blender, puree the soup. Season with salt. The soup will keep, covered, in the fridge for a day. Reheat gently before serving.
Serves 6 – 8
I love this simple soup, but you can jazz it up by sprinkling a Tablespoon of curry powder over the onion mixture before adding the sweet potatoes and apples. Stir it into the onions and let it cook for a minute or so until it is very fragrant.