June 29, 2022

A la Carte: A Soup for Snow? Try This Intriguing Sweet Potato-Coconut Soup

Lee White

What do you do on a Sunday when there is nearly three feet of snow on your front door? Obviously, the meteorologists were right this time …

Is there enough food in my house to keep me a day or two from starvation?

Sure, there is.

But what would I be in the mood for?

Yes, my friends, I had stocked up on produce with what I wanted to cook: three different soups. I also made tiramisu on Sunday, just because I happened to have mascarpone in the refrigerator and, while milk chocolate was not in any supermarket, I have some Ghirardelli cocoa mix in the pantry, too.

Amid all the produce, I bought a sweet potato bigger than my shoe size, a seven. Tonight, I am making a soup to finish up the coconut milk I used yesterday. You may, as I did, forget the parsley relish, since I am out of fresh parsley.

Sweet Potato-Coconut Soup with Spice Relish

Adapted from a recipe by Bobby Flay in September 12, 2010 issue of Parade magazine
Yield: 4 to 6 portions

Spicy Relish
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
pinch of red-pepper flakes
½ small sweet potato, peeled and cut into a small dice
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Sweet Potato-Coconut Soup
1 ½ tablespoons canola oil
1 small red onion, chopped
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated (ginger gums up your Microplane; cut in tiny dice instead)
pinch of red-pepper flakes
3 cups homemade chicken stock (out of my own, I used the store-bought, low-sodium broth)
½ cup water
1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice
1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon honey
large pinch of ground cinnamon

For relish, heat oil and butter over medium heat. Add red-pepper flakes; heat for 10 seconds. Add diced sweet potato, salt and pepper to taste. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until softened, 15 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to high and cook until diced potatoes are golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stir in parsley.

For soup, heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and ginger; cook until soft, 5 minutes. Add red-pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Add stock and water, bring to a boil. Add sweet potatoes, bring to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are soft, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool for 20 to 25 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a blender and process until smooth. Return to saucepan; simmer over low heat. Whisk in coconut milk, honey and cinnamon. Cook until thickened and warmed through. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle into bowls, top with a spoonful of a spicy relish.

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant. She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day. She was a resident of Old Lyme for many years but now lives in Groton, Conn. Contact Lee at leeawhite@aol.com.