18 December 2015

Sweet Potato & Chorizo soup - a smooth and exotic spoonful

A few weeks ago, I spotted a recipe for sweet potato and chorizo soup and I liked the idea of that combination.  However, the recipe I saw didn't seem to have enough depth of flavour for a really tasty and satisfying soup.

I spent the next couple of weeks - on and off - thinking about the soup and how I could add more flavour to it, without detracting from the main two components.  Ultimately, I didn't adjust the recipe radically - just added carrot, celery, rosemary and thyme, all of which served to round it out and add a few extra layers of flavour.

By the way, for those who are baffled by the mention of a "donkey" carrot, think of the kind of carrot that a donkey would like to receive.  A great, big, chunky fat carrot not less than six inches long and preferably longer.  Now THAT is a donkey carrot.

The original method underwent a bit of a re-think as well and the roasting of the sweet potato and carrot was a great idea.  The original recipe had them cooked in the stock, however the roasting added an intensity to the flavour that you couldn't hope to gain any other way.

The use of olive oil instead of the original vegetable oil helped the flavours along, too.  In fact, between the sweet potato, herbs and olive oil, if it wasn't for the Chorizo, it would have been a disgracefully healthy soup!  *Phew*  Thank goodness for Chorizo, eh?

I served this as a dinner soup and it was easily enough for the three of us.  As a starter, it would definitely make sufficient for four.

As ever, if you are not using low salt stock, be careful about how much salt you include when seasoning.  Far easier to add later, you certainly can't take it away!

Hubby pointed out that this soup would make a wonderful November soup for supping around a bonfire, or for warming cold hands around a hearty mugful.  It certainly has got all the hallmarks for that!  However or whenever you decide to sample it, I'm sure you'll love it as much as we did. 


Ingredients :

1kg sweet potato, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 large donkey carrot, peeled and cut into large chunks
1-2 tbsp olive oil
sea salt & black pepper
200g cooking Chorizo sausage - 100g cut into quarters, 100g cut in half
1 red onion, diced finely
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 stick of celery, diced finely
1 tsp dried rosemary
half tsp dried thyme
750ml hot water
2 tsp chicken stock powder (low salt) or 2 chicken stock cubes (low salt).

Method :

Place the sweet potato and carrot chunks onto a baking tray and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil.  Season with sea salt & pepper and put into a pre-heated oven at 200degC/400degF/Gas 6 for 30 mins or until softened and just beginning to caramelise.

Remove from the oven and set aside.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan and fry the quartered Chorizo until crispy.  Remove from the pan onto a plate and reserve to keep warm.  This Chorizo will form your garnish.

Add the halved Chorizo to the pan next and fry until lightly coloured.  Remove from the pan onto a plate and set aside.  

Decrease the heat under the pan and remove some of the oil to a small dish.  Reserve the oil in case you need to replace any - and you can use a little of the remainder to garnish once the soup is served.

Add the onion, garlic and celery to the pan, along with a pinch of salt and a good helping of black pepper.  Fry until softened but not coloured.  Part way through, add the rosemary and thyme.

Once softened, decant the contents of the pan into a large saucepan, add the sweet potato, carrot, hot water and chicken stock powder.  Heat through and taste for seasoning but before simmering point blitz with a hand-held blender until smooth.  Add the halved Chorizo and stir through.  Simmer, without boiling, to heat the soup through.  Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary - I found my soup needed more black pepper at this stage.

Serve in warmed bowls and add a spoonful of the quartered Chorizo and a swirl of Chorizo oil as garnish and warm crusty bread (or fresh baked American biscuits) for dipping.

Canadian apple & cheddar biscuits - yum!
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