Friday, January 9, 2015
Yesterday I promised that roasted sweet potatoes would be the beginning of many delectable dishes. True to my word, today I bring you sherried sweet potato and crab bisque, a luscious soup that combines comfort and elegance in one bowl.
But if you don’t care about any of that, you can just pour yourself a glass of sherry, grab your potatoes, and get cooking.
Sweet Potato & Crab Bisque
- 5 sweet potatoes (enough for 4 cups chopped)
- Olive oil, sea salt, and pepper, for seasoning potatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup leeks, chopped
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
- 1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 1/2 teaspoon sage, dried
- 1 teaspoon thyme, dried
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 cups vegetable stock, preferably homemade
- 1 cup lump crab meat, packed (8 ounces), picked over for shells
- 2/3-1 cup cream (how creamy do you like it?)
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, fresh
- 1/2 cup dry sherry, to taste (optional)
- 1 tablespoon sage, minced, fresh (optional)
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
- Sea salt and white pepper, to reseason
1. Roast sweet potatoes, as described here. (I recommend white pepper to season the potatoes for this recipe rather than black pepper, but it’s not all that important.)
3. Pour in 7 cups of vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Add additional white pepper and salt, stir, then turn down heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Give the soup a taste. You could stop right here and you’ll have a wonderfully tasty sweet potato soup all on its own.
4. Use a hand blender to purée the soup into a thick mixture, adding the additional cup of stock to thin if desired. (This version is also delightful. Try it!)
5. Stir in crab, cream, and sherry and simmer an additional 10 minutes, until the alcohol mellows. Mix in fresh thyme and sage and simmer an additional 5 minutes. Reseason with salt and white pepper to suit your palate, adding honey if needed to balance the flavors.
Makes about 12 cups of soup.
As I mentioned above—but it’s worth repeating—you could stop at step 3 (or 4) for a lower-calorie, broth-based (vegan) sweet potato soup sans cream and crab. Had I not been developing this recipe, I probably would have; it really hit the spot. If you like it, too, you could serve either of those versions one night for supper and make the bisque from the leftovers, sort of like I did when I first made it. Always good when a recipe does double-dinner duty, after all—and that doesn’t even include portions that can be frozen for another occasion.
Oh, and do go ahead and reserve some extra crab and perhaps a few thin slices of red pepper and some fresh herbs for garnish. This soup absolutely deserves a beautiful presentation. Unfortunately, I neglected to save any, so my photo is unaccessorized.
But garnish or no garnish, I adore this soup.
And I hope you do, too.