Caramelized Sweet Potato Soup with Maple Syrup

I initially chose to try this recipe because the word "caramelized" spoke to me. Caramelized anything is generally good in this house but more specifically, I was drawing on memories of Ruth's Chris' sweet potato casserole that I had made last Thanksgiving or Christmas, topped with a caramelized pecan topping, and somehow this recipe gave me the impression that the soup would simply be a liquid version of that dessertlike side dish. And, with the addition of the key ingredient--maple syrup--it almost was.
Although I was expecting to roast the sweet potatoes to caramelize them, instead you do it right in the saucepan, along with the onions and the syrup. And that's the moment when you want everyone at home along with you because the kitchen is filled with the sweetest, most delicious smell and the promise of a great fall dinner. Even though I was prepared to spend some time and effort to make it, the soup ended up being essentially an easy five-ingredient, one-pot, simple-cleanup endeavour and took less than half an hour from start to finish. The icing on the cake was a dollop of creme fraiche on top as I slid the bowls on the kitchen table, adding just the right touch of rich creaminess to round it all out. Kiddies loved it (even Maddie, who reminded me she didn't like sweet potatoes) and so did the mom and pop, with pop ultimately being chastised not to eat it all since it would work well for leftovers. Sometimes simple is best, and all you really need. I loved this soup.

makes 6 servings

1/4 cup butter

1 large onion, diced

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into medium dice

1/4 cup maple syrup

4 to 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock, warmed

creme fraiche

chives for garnish (optional)

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Sweat the onion until translucent. Stir in sweet potatoes and maple syrup; saute until golden and caramelized. add 4 cups stock and simmer until sweet potatoes are tender. Use hand blender to puree mixture (I left in some chunks of sweet potato for texture). Add more stock if needed for desired consistency. Season to taste. Ladle into bowl, top with a dollop of creme fraiche and sprinkle with chives.

Rest of the week

Sept 7 Nobody home for dinner

Sept 8 Sweet potato soup with chunks of foccacia