I love bacon. Always have; always will. And I don’t care if it’s “trendy” to love bacon, or if that trend is deemed “over” by famous chefs. If you ask me, adding bacon to something will most likely make it better. (I am tempted to say that I could eat nothing but bacon, but Andy once ate a whole pound in one sitting and says it put him off the wondrous pork product for quite awhile. I don’t want to risk that…)
When I don’t love an ingredient, I tend to try to disguise it by either adding other ingredients I do love (hello, bacon), or by pureeing it into creamy soup form. So…garnet yams in our farm box? They could only be turned into creamy soup with bacon.
After consulting The Flavor Bible and not finding the flavors I wanted to find listed under sweet potato, I went rogue and just started adding flavors I love. There were definite moments of uncertainty, but I was shocked at how good this soup turned out. The sweetness of the roasted veggies, the smokiness of the bacon, a little heat from the chipotle and subtle hints of rosemary and cumin are just perfect together.
And if there’s any point while cooking a dish where you can exclaim, “the leeks and shallots are basically melted into the bacon grease!” well, then you know you’ve got something tasty on your hands.
The moral of the story is that even if you hate sweet potatoes, you will love this soup. Trust me – any recipe that starts by caramelizing anything in bacon grease is a winner (unless you’re a vegetarian, then completely disregard this entire post).
Chipotle-Rosemary Sweet Potato Soup with Bacon
- 1 1/2 pounds garnet yams or sweet potatoes
- 1/2 pound carrots
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin, divided use
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, divided use
- 3 strips bacon, chopped
- 1 leek, chopped
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon pureed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (plus more as needed)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- grated cheese, optional
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Peel and chop sweet potatoes and carrots into chunks. Toss in a glass baking dish with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and1 teaspoon of rosemary. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fork tender. Remove from oven and reserve.
- In a dutch oven, fry chopped bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels, reserving bacon grease in pot. (There should be about 2 tablespoons.)
- In the same pot, add leeks and shallots. Saute over low heat until caramelized. (This takes quite a while…well over 20 minutes I think, but I forgot to set a timer. Be patient; it’s worth it.)
- Add remaining cumin and rosemary, garlic and chipotle puree. Stir to combine and let cook for a few minutes.
- Add white wine to pot, scraping bottom to deglaze. Let liquid cook mostly down, then add roasted sweet potato and carrot mixture.
- Pour in chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer on low for about 10 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender, puree mixture until smooth. Add chicken stock as needed to achieve desired thickness. When pureed, stir in cream. Season with salt and pepper. Return pot to heat and warm through.
- Serve topped with reserved bacon and grated cheese, if desired.