Sunday, November 14, 2010


Ron and Emma both had to work all day today, so my mother and I decided to make soup.

I've been craving Butternut Squash soup, but it's such a bear to make. I mean not really-- it's easy to make, but the butternut squash is a bear to peel and cut up. I mean-- a bear would be harder to peel and cut up, but butternut squash is a challenge.

So I decided to make sweet potato soup. Because they are the same color. And sort of taste the same. And because Food Network has an easy sweet potato soup recipe:

Ingredients and Directions copied from here.

1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth, if desired)
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups cooked sweet potatoes
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup milk

(I used one large sweet potato-- microwaved.)

In a heavy saucepot, over medium-low heat, cook the flour and butter, stirring constantly until roux achieves a light caramel color. Add the broth and brown sugar, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Stir in the sweet potatoes and spices, bring to a simmer again, and cook for 5 minutes more. In a blender, puree the soup in batches and return to saucepot. Add the milk, and reheat soup. Season with salt and pepper, ladle into warm soup bowls and serve.

And here is where it all fell apart. I forgot to add the milk. The soup was thick, but when I tasted it I thought it was okay. We photographed it with sour cream because it made a nice picture, but it did NOT work with this soup. The soup, at this point, was very sweet potatoey and I couldn't taste ginger or cinnamon at all.

Once I realized what I had done and added the milk, the soup got better. The sweet potato flavor was muted a bit and the spices popped. It was also creamier and more soup-like.

Meanwhile, Grandma began preparing her entry in the Soupapalooza-- Italian Wedding Soup.

The recipe she uses is here.

She made the meatballs first-- they must be refrigerated from 1 to 24 hours. We don't know why. She thinks so they hold together better.

And she pulled together her mise en place. This is what you do if you want to remember everything-- unlike me :)

I never realized how labor intensive this soup is. The meatballs have 9 ingredients and then there is the rolling and the frying. And then the soup itself involves a lot of chopping.

But the effort is certainly worth it. The meatballs are delicious-- my favorite part-- and the soup is complex and layered, packed with escarole and topped with salty sharp Romano cheese.

Her recipe makes a huge pot of soup. Mine makes 4 one cup servings-- one meal out of leftover sweet potatoes.

I think both are fairly nutritious. Sweet potatoes are one of those miracle foods the lists always recommend. Turkey is lean protein and escarole is a leafy green, rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber.

Today my soup was pretty much a miss, but an interesting experiment. I'm not going to rank it based on today. My mother's Italian Wedding rates 8 out of 8 spoons.

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