in the kitchen

in the kitchen

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sweet Potato and Almond Soup

Sometimes I create things that are just not as successful as others. Serving experimental dishes to family and friends opens up the possibility that not everyone is going to like what I put together. That's to be expected; we are all different and have various likes and dislikes. There are a few dishes and potential blog posts, that just didn't work out well for everybody. A soup I made up yesterday is an example. I liked it quite a bit, S had a bowl and a half, A was so polite but choose another direction after starting a bowlful, T didn't try it, N liked it pretty well and B wasn't sure (he is my husband so tries to be supportive of all of my experiments). Anyway, I am offering it today for those who might like to try something different, to experiment on palates near and far, because I liked it. This dish can be entirely vegan if you like, just skip the cheese part of the garnish.
Sweet Potato and Almond Soup
5 cups sweet potato cubes, (about 1 pound)
1 cup sliced carrots, (about 1/4 pound)
1 cup diced parsnips, (about 1/4 pound)
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
6 cups of water, (plus more to thin soup if desired)
1 cup blanched almonds, (see this post for the way to blanch your own almonds)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
Optional: 1 cup grated Balsamic Bellavitano cheese, (or other nutty type such as Gruyere)
1/2 cup balsamic glaze, (see this post for a glaze that would work well)
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place sweet potatoes, carrots and parsnips on a roasting sheet. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt. Toss to coat and then roast for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, place blanched almond in a food processor bowl and process until they are a fine meal texture. While processor is running, pour in remaining olive oil and balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons each, and the remaining salt. Process until mixture forms a ball then set aside. Bring 6 cups water to a boil. Add the roasted veggies and puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Whisk in the almond mixture, mixing thoroughly, and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Thin soup with additional water if desired. To serve, top each portion with cheese, green onion and balsamic glaze.
Hints:  Cutting the veggies to about the same thickness will get them all cooked through at the same time. They must be soft in order to puree correctly. It will take a bit of stirring to get the almond mixture entirely incorporated. (I think that this almond paste has potential for other uses, it's good!) The green onions, cheese and balsamic glaze really finish the dish. Perhaps you could stir them in instead of garnishing the dish with them. The Bellavitano cheese is really good and has a nice nutty edge; I bought it at Costco. However another nutty cheese would be just as good, even a mild Romano would work.

The final texture of the soup is not smooth like a cream soup but has a bit of texture because of the almond meal. It is a thick, hearty soup and I think quite delicious. Not everyone agrees with me on that but you might. Please let me know if you do.

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