Originally created 11/20/02

Sweet recipe for the holidays



Sweet potatoes are an annual part of the Thanksgiving menu.

But instead of serving them candied or baked into a sweet potato souffle, why not serve a luscious sweet potato soup?

Whether you add the recipe to your Thanksgiving repertoire or serve it on a chilly fall evening, you'll love this soup's sweet and savory flavor, and its simple preparation.

The soup begins with a chopped onion and a peeled and grated apple in a Dutch oven that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. When the onion is tender, reduced-sodium chicken stock is added.

Instead of going to the trouble of peeling and dicing fresh sweet potatoes, I use a can of sweet potatoes (or yams) packed in syrup. Drain them well, and add them to the chicken broth.

The flavor of this soup is similar to butternut squash soups served in restaurants during the fall, but is far more simple to prepare.

Using pumpkin-pie spice instead of measuring cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves gives the soup just the right flavor. I found pumpkin-pie spice with the store brand spices at two local supermarkets. If you have a well-stocked spice rack, you can substitute 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and a pinch of cloves for the pumpkin pie spice.

When the sweet potatoes are heated through, the soup can be pureed using an immersion blender. It's a gadget I wouldn't want to be without when pureeing hot soups. You simply plug it in and puree your soup right in the pot. This gadget is extremely easy to clean. Just unplug it and run it under hot water.

You also can puree the soup in a blender or food processor, but use caution when doing so. Most manufacturers recommend filling the blender no more than half-full when pureeing hot liquids, but the steam from the soup still can blow the lid right off of the blender, creating your own dangerous, homemade volcano! I never fill a blender more than one-third full when pureeing hot liquids.

If you don't have an immersion blender, I advise preparing the soup ahead and letting it cool. Puree in the blender, and then reheat the soup over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes.

Apples and sweet potatoes pair wonderfully, and I'll often add cooked apples to my mashed sweet potatoes. The combination is delicious here, and I love to garnish this soup with some crisp apple slivers just before serving.

Write to Karin Calloway in care of The Augusta Chronicle Newsroom, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903. Or send e-mail to karin.calloway@comcast.net. You can find previous Quick Cooking recipes through the online archive at augustachronicle.com/karin.

SWEET POTATO SOUP

Nonstick cooking spray

1 medium onion, chopped

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated

32 ounces (4 cups) reduced sodium chicken stock or broth

1 29-ounce can yams or sweet potatoes, packed in syrup, rinsed, drained and diced

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Additional slivers of Granny Smith apple, for garnish

Spray a Dutch oven with the cooking spray and heat over medium-high. Add onions and grated apple and saute for 5 minutes. Add stock, yams or sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie spice and salt and pepper. Raise heat to high, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and puree with an immersion blender. Or cool soup and puree in a regular blender, and reheat soup, covered, over low heat. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the apple slivers.

Makes 6 servings.

Note: Soup can be pureed in small batches in an electric blender. Use caution when pureeing hot liquids in a blender. Never fill the blender more than 1/3 full of a hot liquid.

Nutritional information per serving: 194 calories, 5.2 grams protein, 40.4 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 1.5 grams fat, 0.4 gram saturated fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 572 milligrams sodium.

Nutrition analysis provided by Fran Frye, a licensed and registered dietitian of the Augusta District Dietetic Association. Send questions via e-mail to augustadietitian@yahoo.com.

COMING Nov. 27: Hot Turkey Salad

See Karin prepare the recipe at noon Tuesday on WJBF-TV (Channel 6).