Sweet Potato Soup
Recipe By: Chef Craig Flinn, as published in Fresh Canadian Bistro
Soups are an essential part of surviving the Canadian winter. Soup making is relaxing, comforting, and nutritious. In this simple pureed soup, chef Craig Flinn of Chives Canadian Bistro fancies it up a bit with a warm salad made from steamed mussels, haystack cultivated shitake mushrooms, and winter leeks from the cold stores. You can omit this step and serve it as is. Some other garnishes I have used in the past include bacon bits and sour cream, roasted peppers with some spicy chipotle coulis, and fried onions with croutons and gruyere.
Ingerdients for the Soup:
1 cup (250 mL) celery diced
1 cup (250 mL) onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (3 ml) freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp (3 mL) dried thyme
1/2 tsp (3 mL) fennel seeds
1/2 tsp (3 mL) chili flakes
1/4 cup (60 mL) butter
1/2 cup (125 mL) white wine (we suggest Nova Scotia wine)
4 cups (1 litre) sweet potato, peeled and diced
6 cups (1500 mL) chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup (125 mL) heavy cream
In a soup pot sauté the celery, onions, garlic, and all seasonings and spices in the butter. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat until a little bit of colour starts to form. Deglaze with wine and turn up the heat to boil off all the liquid. Add the sweet potatoes and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for an hour or until the sweet potatoes begin to fall apart. Puree in a high-speed blender and strain through a fine strainer or chinois. Place back in the soup pot and add the cream. Keep on a low very heat until ready to serve.
Ingredients for the Warm Salad
1 lb (454 g) mussels (we suggest AquaPrime mussels)
1/4 cup (125 mL) white wine or dry vermouth
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 cup (250 mL) sliced shitake mushrooms
1/2 cup (125 mL) sliced white of winter leeks
2 tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp (315 mL) white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh parsley
Steam the mussels in white wine, garlic, and shallots until they just open (about 2 minutes with a lid). Begin to sauté the mushrooms and leeks in olive oil while you are quickly shucking the mussels. Pour the juice from the mussels into the sauté pan to deglaze and reduce the liquid until only a tablespoon or so remains. Add the shucked mussels to the pan with the vinegar and parsley. Remove from the heat immediately and adjust the seasonings.
Pour a full ladle of hot soup into a shallow soup bowl. You want the warm salad to be visible and not sink to the bottom. Make a neat pile of salad in the centre of the bowl. Garnish with a sprig of fresh parsley and a mussel shell.
Serves 6 with leftover soup.