Sweet Potato Soup with Ham and Leeks

Wow! It's been 10 days since I've made a post. And even longer since I've posted a recipe. Here's a good one! Let me know if you try it.

Sweet Potato Soup with Ham and Leeks

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
½ lb fully-cooked ham, cut into small dice (about 1 cup)
1 large leek, cleaned well and sliced (about 1 ½ cups)
3-4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes (about 3 cups)
1 can chicken broth (about 14 ounces)
1 cup water
1 small can evaporated milk (about 5 ounces)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Sour cream
Thinly sliced scallions

Put the oil in a pot and fry the ham cubes, stirring constantly, until slightly crispy on the edges (about 5 minutes). Remove the ham from the pot. Add leeks and cook until slightly wilted. Add the sweet potatoes, the chicken broth, water, and evaporated milk. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Place half the soup into a blender (secure the lid! and place a kitchen towel over the top to prevent splatters) and puree until smooth. Return to the soup pot and add the ham. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish each bowl with a tablespoon or so sour cream and a sprinkling of sliced scallions. Garnish is optional, of course. Enjoy!

Variations: Change up the soup by adding a half teaspoon or so of your favorite herb or spice. The amount of the herb will vary depending on the strength of the herb, whether it's fresh or dried, and your particular taste palate. Remember, start with a small amount and taste. You can always add more, but you can't remove it once it's stirred in. Suggestions: sweet basil, lemon basil, cayenne pepper, celery leaves, celery seed, cilantro, cinnamon, cumin, curry powder, garlic, lemon grass (simmer with the soup, then discard before eating), parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme.

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