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Seasons’ Eatings: Rutabaga and Sweet Potato Soup

2012 December 20

By Sarah A. Maine

Rutabaga and Sweet PotatosSunnyside, NY – Wow. An entire year has gone whizzing by again, and I’m so thankful you all were here to share it with me. It’s been a rough week, so I thought it would be good to add another comforting and hearty soup to round out our Seasons Eatings 2012 line up.

After eggs, in all their glorious and various forms, soup is probably my favorite food. I especially love chunky soups, satisfying enough to be a one pot meal. We’ve had a great run of soups lately – Red French Onion, Turkey Pho, and a little while back Sopa de Ajo. We also received a great Clam Chowder video from a friend and fan of RecipeRelay. We posted it on our facebook page but I thought I would share it again here. The more soup the merrier!

At the end of November I received the last box of my CSA for the year. It was filled with enough root vegetables to feed a small army for several weeks. It was intimidating but I was actually relieved since I knew that my schedule was going to be pretty punishing through the end of the year. The less I have to worry about shopping the better!

I picked up some odds and ends of bacon and ham at the Heritage Meat Shop in the Essex street market. I ended up using the end of an Edwards Surry-ano ham for this recipe – a delicious cured ham from Edwards in Virginia. The onion and garlic came from the Rogowski Farm stand at the Sunnyside Greenmarket (only one market left this year!).

This is a soup to keep you warm and to fortify you for the onslaught of holiday party finger food. It will also help you figure out what to do with those rutabagas you might have hanging around.

Happy Holidays to all of you from the gang at RecipeRelay and best best best wishes for 2013!

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Rutabaga and Sweet Potato Soup

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 15 mins

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 small to medium rutabagas
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 6 cups stock
  • 10 strips bacon or enough ham ends to make 1/2 cup when cubed
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Peel off as much of the papery skin from the outside of the garlic head. Slice the top off the head so that the tops of the cloves are exposed.  Place the head in a small baking dish that has been greased with olive oil. Sprinkle the head with salt and olive oil, cover with tin foil and roast for 45 minutes to an hour.
  2. While the garlic is roasting – get everything else ready!
  3. Cut the bacon or ham ends into small strips or cubes. Toss the pieces into a deep pot, render the fat and cook the bits until they are crispy. Remove the crisped bacon bits but leave the delicious bacon fat!
  4. Dice the onion and sautée in the scrumptious bacon fat.  Add 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme.
  5. While the onions and thyme are melding in the pot, peel the sweet potatoes and rutabagas then dice them. The smaller the dice the quicker they will cook so aim for 1/2” or even smaller if you can manage it. When everything is diced throw it all in the pot and stir it into the onion and thyme mixture.
  6. Add the stock to the pot. I used chicken stock but you can use veggie stock, or beef stock if you are looking for richer flavor. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes.
  7. When the sweet potato and rutabaga are tender turn off the heat. The garlic should be done by this time. Remove it from the oven, let it cool for a few minutes until it is cool enough to handle. Squeeze every single clove of the delicious sweet roasted garlic into the soup pot. Don’t be timid! Roasted garlic is much mellower than other garlic preparations, it will lend a toasty sweetness to the soup without overpowering the root veggies.
  8. If you have a submersible blender – what Pat calls “the boat motor” in the clam chowder video – bust it out and blend the soup to your preferred level of smoothness. You can purée everything or keep it rustic and chunky. If you don’t have a hand held blender you can use a regular blender.
  9. Dish the soup out into bowls, sprinkle bacon bits and fresh thyme over each bowl. Top with a healthy dollop of creme fraiche. Feed to the hungry masses.

Rutabaga and Sweet Potato Soup

Sarah A. Maine is a co-founder and editor of RecipeRelay. By day she is the manager of the Saxelby Cheesemongers store at the Essex Street Market. By night she indulges her artistic leanings, designing metal ornaments and housewares, her pieces are available for purchase in her Etsy shop: The Finest Kind.