There’s a change in the air – tis the season for warm, comforting soups and stews! And boy howdy am I glad. It’s been dang hot around here – hot as a snake’s arse on a hayride, if you ask me. So I’m certainly welcoming the cool breeze and teasing change of color in the leaves with open arms.
This recipe for Sweet Potato Soup with Walnut Pesto has been floating around my desk for nearly a year since a friend who had pulled it from a magazine passed it on to me. Not sure what publication it’s from. I think it’s Cooking Light. They always have yummy stuff, don’t they? I’ve adapted it because I like to break the rules, but it’s fairly close to the original. The difference is their pesto called for parsley, but since I have a bumper crop of fresh basil right now, I chose a traditional basil pesto base.
This soup is most satisfying. The perfect ending to a crisp fall day. No fancy ingredients with this one. And no fancy procedures. Some simple chopping is all.
The soup comes together very easily. Basically, after sautéeing the leeks in some olive oil (Is there a better aroma people? I think not.), throw all the chopped ingredients in the pot, along with some broth, water, beans, salt and pepper. The full preparation instructions for the soup are below.
When making pesto, there’s no right or wrong order of chopping (as far as I know), but I always begin with the garlic and nuts, to make sure they’re finely processed to avoid any large bits.
And that’s it.
Note: This pesto calls for omega-3 fatty acid packed walnut oil, but olive oil can be substituted just as easily.
What’s your favorite soup, chowder or stew to cozy up to this time of the year?
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium sized leeks (2 cups chopped)
- 28 oz. (or thereabouts) chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 2-3 small-medium sweet potatoes (2½ cups cubed)
- 1 bunch of kale, or swiss chard (4 cups chopped)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 – 15.5 oz. cans cannellini, or great northern beans (not drained)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
- ⅓ cup walnuts, chopped
- 12, or so fresh small-medium sage leaves
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
- 4 tablespoons walnut oil (olive oil may be substituted)
- ¾ cup Asiago cheese, grated/shredded
- Begin by slicing the leeks and sautéing them in olive oil in stock pot until tender.
- Add the chicken broth and water, and bring to a simmer.
- Chop the sweet potato in about ½-1? cubes, then add to the pot, along with the beans (and bean juice – don’t drain), salt and pepper. Cook an additional 10 minutes or so, until the potatoes are just tender, but not mushy.
- Rough chop the kale and toss it in. Cook for about 3 minutes or until wilted.
- Turn off heat and squeeze in the juice from one lemon.
- Begin by chopping the garlic and nuts in a food processor.* Make sure they’re finely processed.
- Follow the garlic and nuts with the sage, basil, and salt, adding oil a little at a time when needed.
- Add the cheese and blend well.
- *Remember to scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl after each ingredient addition.