At our house, marshmallows are saved for hot chocolate when our daughter Emily is home. I’ve never put them on sweet potatoes, though if someone else served up that inescapable casserole, I’d be polite and have a bite or two. I offer up an apology to all those gooey-sweet sweet potato fans out there and make mine the way I like them, which is thoroughly mashed up with butter, sherry, just a little brown sugar, and eggs. Top that with walnuts and bake a half hour while the bird rests and I’m in Thanksgiving heaven. The recipe is called a soufflé, but I’d say that’s stretching it. Leftovers, are, of course, perfect spooned up cold right out of the refrigerator or heated up in a skillet with a fried egg cooked in the center.
I haven’t yet decided if the sweet potato soufflé will be on our Thanksgiving menu because last Friday when I wanted a first course soup for Date Night dinner, I came up with a new chili powder, ginger, and cumin-spiked sweet potato soup. It could — well, maybe just for this year — check sweet potatoes off the holiday cooking list. There must be sweet potatoes in some form, right? (Recently I saw something indicating how many people have macaroni and cheese. Really?! I had no idea.) We ate only a cupful all dressed up just for fun with popcorn and pepitas, though even as we ate it, I was thinking of other possible garnishes like candied pecans or chopped salted peanuts, sour cream, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, spicy fresh-fried croutons, and more. Garnish makes the soup. And, I thought, “Why not start the Thanksgiving feast with a tiny bowl of this creamy lushness?” Accompanied by an American sparkler, of course. No foreign wines for this meal! I’m partial to Tony Soter’s Mineral Springs Brut Rosé (OR) for a splurge or one of the New Mexican Gruet sparklers if your budget is squeaking a tad. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea as life is a wee bit different in the fall of 2020.
There’s a collective sigh being heard across America right now as we’re hearing lots about celebrating Thanksgiving with just the people in our homes or bubbles, via Zoom, or maybe even outdoors. My kids aren’t coming to dinner in our home, nor are our friends. Dave, my husband, and I are cooking up big on Wednesday and delivering it to several folks around town on Thursday morning. That way I still get to make my favorite meal of the year and a few good friends won’t have to cook. We’ll eat together, just the two of us, Thursday afternoon. I’m working hard to not complain, but to instead be thankful for our health in today’s world. Just because there’re only two — make that four with our dogs Tucker and Rosie — won’t stop me from setting a beautiful table. It also enables me to cook and serve dishes I’d never consider for a big crowd buffet…such as this Sweet Potato Soup. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten Sweet Potato Soup before, so this was beginning to sound enjoyable.
For more Thanksgiving cooking and fun, scroll down to my sunrise photo.
We could also take the tres simple route I outlined in last week’s post–and maybe you’re leaning in that direction:
But since I’m making everything anyway for delivery, we’ll likely head in the very small dinner party direction. I’m even thinking an old school Shrimp Louis salad for starters. I mean, why not make the best of an unusual situation because, if God is good, we’ll all have had our two shots and be ready for gathering in ’21. In the meantime, simmer up a small pot of my Sweet Potato Soup, shown below with chopped salted peanuts and black pepper for garnish. Top it as you will, but try this:
sweet potato soup
- 1 tablespoon EACH salted butter and olive oil-Use all olive oil for vegan version.
- Pinch crushed red pepper
- Medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon EACH chili powder and kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon EACH fresh ground black pepper and ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth-Use vegetable broth for vegan/vegetarian version
- 1 cup water – or more as needed
- 2 very large sweet potatoes- peeled and cut into 1 ½-inch dice – about 1 ½ pounds
- ½ cup half and half-Use coconut or other non-dairy milk for vegan version
- ½ cup popped popcorn, salted and peppered- for garnish
- ¼ cup pepitas, plain or seasoned- for garnish
- In a 5-6 quart pot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add crushed red pepper, let cook a few seconds, and tip in the onion. Sprinkle with the chili powder, salt, black pepper, ginger, and cumin; stir and let cook 5 minutes or until softened. Add whole garlic cloves and cook another minute or two. Pour in broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly; add diced sweet potatoes. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 150 degrees F and place soup bowls on a center rack to warm.
- Mash sweet potatoes briefly with a potato masher and then purée in pot with an immersion blender or carefully in batches in a blender or food processor. This is a thick mixture that can bubble up, pop, and burn you, so add more water to thin soup as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings. Reheat if you’ve used the blender or food processor. Stir in half and half and warm through. Taste and adjust seasonings for a last time. Serve hot in warm bowls garnished with a few kernels of popcorn and pepitas. You might try other garnishes such as a small dollop of sour cream, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, candied pecans, chopped salted peanuts, or freshly fried and seasoned croutons.
THANKSGIVING FOOD VIDEOS/RECIPES and MORE:
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup/FOODWISHES (Video and Recipe)
Simple is Best Stuffing Video/Carla Music/BON APPETIT (Easy and made with boxed broth rather than homemade turkey broth. No giblets, no sausage.)
Gordon Ramsay — Christmas Turkey with Gravy If you don’t choose this recipe, you’ll at least have watched a stellar turkey cooking video. While I was looking for simple ideas, I couldn’t resist this one. So entertaining. Sigh.
Ina Garten’s Roast Turkey: (No frills, no fear.)
Smoke-Roasted Turkey/STEVEN RAICHLEN For those who just gotta grill.
Grilling and Smoking Turkey Breast/STEVEN RAICHLEN For those who like white meat.
This guy ambles across our yard once in a while and I’m always amazed at how unworried he is about people, cars, other animals, or even weather. The does and fawns, on the other hand, are nervous nellies and take off running at the slightest provocation. I’m thinking we’ve got to be a bit more like the buck in the upcoming weeks.
Thanks for stopping by. It’s always nice to have you in my kitchen cooking with me!