soup, winter, creamy, sweet potato, bisque, candied, cinnamon, ginger

If you haven't noticed by now, I turn into the soup goddess if you will in the winter. I always tell my mom, if I have learned nothing else from my very very very expensive time in culinary school, I learned the following 4 things: vegetable cookery, making soups, plating, and breaking down meat.  These skills have taken me far (ha!) and this week its sweet potato bisque. Ive been wanting this for a while now, especially since Ive been seeing a lot of sweet potatoes in the grocery store lately. (they are in season, eat them!) I love sweet potatoes no matter how they come, I usually just either sauté them and top them with a fried egg or I roast them really hard with thyme and brown sugar. Today they turned into soup and Im so glad they did. 

The candied sweet potatoes kind of happened by accident and Im also glad this "accident" occurred. When I added the sugar to the skillet and then poured the potatoes out on a paper towel to cool, I walked away from them for one second and came back and they were these delicious crispy crunchy candied bites. I added them to my soup and eating fabulously commenced.   

Sweet Potato Bisque w/ Candied Sweet Potatoes 

5-6 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped 
1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 onion, peeled and chopped 
1 head of garlic, peeled and bottoms trimmed  
1 stick of butter, optional 
1 c. of half -n- half, optional 
1t. vanilla extract 
1T. oil 
ground cinnamon 
ground ginger 
black pepper 

Add chopped and peeled sweet potatoes, onions and garlic. Add enough water or stock of your choice, just to cover potatoes and onions and bring to a simmer. When a fork pulls out of the sweet potatoes with ease, ladle in a blender in batches and puree. Be sure to be cautious of the extreme heat from the soup and pureeing in the blender. The top will fly off and hot soup will be everywhere! Puree in small manageable batches until all the soup is smooth and pour back in soup pot and bring to a simmer over medium flame. If using, add butter, half and half and season soup with cinnamon, ginger, sugar, salt and pepper to your taste. 

Place canola oil in a medium skillet over high heat. When oil is hot, add diced sweet potatoes and sauté until golden brown. When potatoes are half way cooked, sprinkle sugar, vanilla extract, black pepper, cinnamon, salt and ginger over potatoes. Continue to cook, just until the sugar dissolves and the vanilla extract is no longer visible. Place potatoes on wax or parchment paper on a flat surface and allow to cool. The potatoes will begin to crystalize from the sugar as they cool.  Ladle hot soup in a large bowl and garnish with candied sweet potatoes. 

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