sweet potato, corn, and jalapeño bisque
Chilly fall weather snuck in out of nowhere, and before I knew it we were eating a pot of soup. Bring on the blankets and sweaters and scarves!
You dust off your biggest soup pot, crank up the flame beneath it and slick the insides with oil, then sizzle some onions, peppers, and garlic within its confines for just a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, you peel and hack some sweet potatoes into 1-inch bits, then throw them into the pot with a few glugs of vegetable stock. You simmer them into submission, then decimate the whole thing with an immersion blender. The best part comes next: you stir in some sweet corn niblets, tiny bits of fresh jalapeno, a swirl of maple syrup, and a sprinkle of spice. If your sweet potatoes are less than stellar, a splash of orange juice will save the day.
It’ll take 30 minutes, tops. So easy, so good. So…velvety.
I found this recipe via the New York Times. They tell the story behind a cookbook called “Cooking Up a Storm: Recipes Lost and Found From The Times-Picayune of New Orleans.” So many people lost everything to the water after Katrina, including their collections of recipe clippings and handwritten cards passed down from mothers and grandmothers. The recipe column in the Times-Picayune became a way for people to rebuild their collection; someone would write in, describing the recipe they lost, and another reader would supply it. This is one of those recipes.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 cloves minced garlic
1 small bell pepper, chopped
3 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds) peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
4 cups vegetable stock
1 medium jalapeno, seeded and finely minced
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
2 tablespoons maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste
a pinch of cayenne
a pinch of cinnamon
a pinch of cumin
(a splash of orange juice)
(finely chopped green onions and sour cream)
In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and bell pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, for a couple of minutes, until soft. Add sweet potatoes and stock; bring to a boil.
Simmer until potatoes are very soft, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and puree until smooth using an immersion blender (or, carefully, using a blender or food processor…I’ve learned the hard way that steam will blow the lid off a blender.)
Turn heat back on to low and stir in jalapeño, corn, maple syrup, and spices. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add orange juice if necessary. Heat just until the soup comes to a simmer, then turn off heat and serve.