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sweet potato-greens-sage soup, adapted with love

‘CAN I HAVE YOUR RECIPE?’ friends ask each other, back and forth after delicious meals served with love and hopefully a side order of tasty conversation. But so often it’s not “my” recipe, or “yours” that’s on the table, but one that we have found in a cookbook that became identified with us by those we served it to—friends and family who ask us to make “our” dish again. The actual provenance, though, remains the same: “My” sweet potato-greens soup with sage and garlic is actually Anna Thomas’s Green Soup With Sweet Potatoes and Sage, from her James Beard Award-winning cookbook, “Love Soup.”

You’ll notice that I said sweet potato-greens soup in the headline, though Anna Thomas’s original has it the other way round, with the greens first. I suspect her soup is greener in color than mine comes out, too. That why I say mine is an adaptation (that, and the fact that once I read a recipe and follow it the first time, I rarely look again, and just keep on adapting).

my version of sweet potato-greens soup with sage

Note: This soup freezes very well, but as with all soups, I refrigerate it for a day first to let the flavors meld.

ingredients

  • 1¼-2 pounds sweet potatoes (Anna recommends 1¼; I use about 2 to shift the flavor and color balance)
  • 1½  tsp. sea salt
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. sage leaves chopped
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 bunch chard
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • black pepper
  • really good olive oil for garnish

steps

Peel and cube the sweets, and put them with the chopped sage and the salt in a big pot, adding 3 cups or so of water over them, and simmering, covered, till soft.

Meantime saute the diced onions till soft and golden brown, in the olive oil.

Chop the washed greens coarsely while all that’s happening.

Add the greens and the whole garlic cloves and the broth to the sweet potato mixture, and let that all soften by simmering awhile longer, covered.

Add the cooked onions. (I deglaze the onion pan with a bit of the broth to get all the good flavor from the oil and onion bits, wasting nothing.)

Let the mixture cool enough to blend thoroughly. Using an immersion blender right in the pot, I puree the soup, and adjust the liquid if needed.

And then, as Anna Thomas says, drizzle with a fruity olive oil before serving. “This last step is essential,” she reminds us. Agreed. Drizzle away, and enjoy.

(I saw a variation Anna Thomas did on the “Eating Well” website, with spinach instead of chard and the choice of Japanese yams or sweet potatoes. You can find that one here if you happen to be long in spinach at the moment.)

more

how to win a copy of ‘love soup’

I’M CRAZY ABOUT BOOKS, and especially cookbooks (and field guides, and novels, and garden books, and … oh dear). Anna Thomas’s “Love Soup” is as good as it gets–about one of my favorite dishes, soup, and vegetarian and good-for-you fresh to boot. The million-selling author of “The Vegetarian Epicure” wrote another winner. Just answer this question in the comments below to enter [note: the giveway is complete, but your comments are always welcome]:

What’s the most popular soup in your house, and where did the original recipe come from?

Feeling shy (or no soup in the house)? Just say, “Count me in,” and I will.

Two winners will be were chosen at random after entries close at midnight Sunday, October 21, 2014. Good luck to all.

(Disclaimer: Any small commissions I earn from purchases made from Amazon links in this post go to purchasing the books I buy to give away.)

Save

  1. Liz says:

    We love soup! Every soup with homemade chicken stock is just so good! Tortilla soup is a big favorite here – love spicy food!

  2. Mary Miller says:

    We love Taco Soup with all of the fresh add-ons. We also enjoy Kale and Potato Soup and Everything But the Kitcheng Sink Soup. I got my Taco Soup recipe from my daughter, but I have no idea where she got it. The Kale and Potato Soup is a traditional Portuguese dish, and the Everything Soup is different every time i make it depending on what I have in the fridge and pantry.

  3. Betty Sasin says:

    Made the soup and loved it-got a feeling it’s going to be a favorite this winter!!!
    Thanks, Margaret-I learn so many helpful things from you-my favorite read!

  4. Cynthia Strong says:

    Just said to my husband yesterday, “Soup season is starting!” I make soup at least once a week in the fall-winter season. Our favorite is lentil soup from the Williams Sonoma cookbook, “Soup”. It has curry powder and lemon slices and spinich. I usually add some kind of sausage chunks. Recently started adding quinoa which does a different little “texture thing” . We also love Golden cauliflower soup: cauliflower in chicken broth with the usual carrots, onions and celery. I do like quinoa added here also.

  5. Patty McKnight says:

    We love ‘garbage pail’ soup which uses up the leftover bits for from the week’s dinners plus home made broth from the freezer. Sometimes we blend to a purée, sometimes not.

  6. The favorite soup in my house is roasted Root vegetable soup – with sweet potatoes, butternut squash, parsnips, carrots, garlic sauté lots of onions to add to the mix – love it with Garam masala and cardamom.

  7. Alleen Cater says:

    This sounds yummy either way. greens/sweet potatoes or sweet potatoes/greens, and I will be making it in the next few days. Could someone please be more specific about the “fruity olive oil?” I understand “really good olive oil,” but I’m not up to speed on ‘fruity.’ Thanks!

  8. Sue says:

    I am trying to convert some recipes into a nutritionally balanced dish. Is this one? How do I turn this into a complete meal?

  9. Joan Weed says:

    My favorite lately is Creme du Barry, made with puréed cauliflower, celeriac, and fennel. I began this love just because I happened to have these 3 ingredients. It’s lovely and smooth and I feel full of nutrients. Pinterest has many recipes for it. Being a vegetarian, I know you’ll love it Margaret. I do add chicken broth to mine sometimes.

  10. Dianne says:

    The favorite soup here is Spinach & Beans Au Gratin. It originated to me from my sister who said her quilt group served it often. All of those quilter ladies were fabulous cooks. I would love to have the Love Soup cookbook, so count me in. Also, Margaret, I admire you that you are able to put to memory the recipes and never have to look again!! My mind is not that good anymore. And don’t you love your immersion blender? I don’t know how I ever got along without it. So messy putting soup into the blender. I can’t believe some people don’t know about immersion blenders after all these years. I love it when I can share with them how they really need to get one. Thanks for the recipe, can’t wait to try. I have the last of the turnip greens in the garden now. Wonder if they would work.

  11. Nancy Furth says:

    A potato chowder which might include corn or clams—whatever is available. One of the first things my mother taught me to make from a cream sauce base, it was a treat back in the fifties on cold, snowy days!

  12. Sandy Lentz says:

    Margaret please use a more specific amount of the greens than a “bunch”. ‘’”Cups, chopped”. Of for those of us who use a kitchen scale, a weight? A “bunch” is whatever the produce guy decides. I realize soup recipes aren’t as exacting as baking recipes, but a little more specificity sure would be welcomed.

    1. margaret says:

      I am sorry for the imprecision; the idea of the soup, as I explain in the intro, is that even though Anna Thomas made hers very green, mine is more sweet potato — and both balances are great though different. As for “bunch:” In food coops and farmers markets where I live, greens are sold in similar-sized “bunches” with a twist tie so perhaps visualize that amount; in supermarkets here, too, they are sold in such portions with a twist tie and label. They are listed in the cookbook as approx. 8 oz. or 225 grams=bunch. Anna uses 1-1/4 pounds or 450 grams of sweet potatoes. I have read variously that a pound of sweet potatoes cubed raw, depending how you cut them up, can be 3 or even 4 cups (but would only be maybe 2 cups if cooked and mashed)…so the weight is more precise. I don’t follow a recipe and each batch is delightfully different; I add more greens if I think it needs it toward the end (or more sage!).

  13. Regina Harrison says:

    Since you first posted this recipe, it’s become a staple in my kitchen as well–not just as written here, but as the basis for improvisation depending on what looked good at the market that day. The fact that sage is pretty winter-hardy brings the extra pleasure of using something from your own garden even in the coldest parts of the year. Thank you for passing this one along!

  14. Mary Farrell says:

    I agree with Sandy Lentz. Bunch can mean anything at all. When picking from the garden there are larger and smaller leaves, and how many make a “bunch”? And how about specifying cups of cooked sweet potatoes? I have jars of roasted sweets in my freezer, but who knows what the original fresh poundage was? Whether from a cookbook or otherwise, vague amounts and assumptions really aren’t helpful.

    1. margaret says:

      I am sorry for the imprecision; the idea of the soup, as I explain in the intro, is that even though Anna Thomas made hers very green, mine is more sweet potato — and both balances are great though different. As for “bunch:” In food coops and farmers markets where I live, greens are sold in similar-sized “bunches” with a twist tie so perhaps visualize that amount; in supermarkets here, too, they are sold in such portions with a twist tie and label. They are listed in the cookbook as approx. 8 oz. or 225 grams=bunch. Anna uses 1-1/4 pounds or 450 grams of sweet potatoes. I have read variously that a pound of sweet potatoes cubed raw, depending how you cut them up, can be 3 or even 4 cups (but would only be maybe 2 cups if cooked and mashed)…so the weight is more precise. I don’t follow a recipe and each batch is delightfully different; I add more greens if I think it needs it toward the end (or more sage!).

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