A while back, I learned an interesting social service provided in Canada. To help the homeless, warm baked potatoes are given away inside a new tube sock in the evening. It serves many purposes including warmth for the night, food the next day, and a new sock. What an awesome idea!!! Cost efficient, humanitarian...what's not to love. Thus, I quickly adopted this idea for my own use. Several years ago, I started with two white potatoes baked in a camp fire. One for my feet and one for my trunk to stay warm in my sleeping bag and the next morning for yummy, warming campfire hashbrowns. This weekend during a family camping trip, we tried it, but with a new twist. We didn't actually need the warmth (ironic, given the weather shift that has me huddled under a blanket right now). This time I used sweet potatoes with the intent of soup. Although I must confess I have never made this type of soup, I love a challenge and tend to prefer cooking without recipes. Because measuring spoons do not get packed for camping, I am estimating the amounts based on sight, so feel free to season to taste.
By the way, one compliment I received is "I just want to bathe in it." It was yummy and soothing and as I savored its warmth it blanketed my mouth and stomach in every important way. I am adding this to my winter repertoire...black bean, chili, minestrone, squash, Provincial White Bean Soup, Kidney Bean and Kale Soup, Black Eyed Pea and Greens, etc. I make a very large batch of each and deep freeze, typically only making each 1-2 times per year.
So without further ado, here is my new Sweet Potato Soup, which serves 10 adults a good sized serving. Cut in half if this is too much for you. I will probably double this the next time I make it.
Bake in either your oven (great way to decrease potentially wasted energy when preheating for baking bread) or a campfire or your fire pit out back when you have friends over, 6 pounds of sweet potatoes.
Peel potatoes, waiting until a little cooled if you like your fingertips to remain in place.
Chop 1 lb of onions and cook in oil in a large soup pot
When beginning to brown add 2 prunes (next time I will likely try 8 prunes)...this adds depth of flavor and natural sweetness, much like my homemade BBQ sauce.
Then add 1 Tablespoon of each of the following sweet curry powder, Chinese 5 spice powder, garlic powder, and ground ginger (the kind in the jar). Also add 1/2 Tablespoon black pepper. Stir and cook for one minute. Then deglaze pan with 1/2 cup of orange juice.
Add all the potatoes and 1 quart of vegetarian stock.
When warm, puree with an immersion blender (small and easy to take camping if you have electricity at your cite)
Then add, one more quart of vegetarian stock and 1 cup of cream or half and half (we used the latter since we had it already for camp coffee.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Enjoy either alone as we did or with a dollop of creme fraiche or candied orange peel.
Sorry there are no pictures, it was a busy weekend...3 families, 2 dogs, 1 playground, 1 festival, 2 loaves of homemade bread...yum, loud neighbors, 2 hours drive each way, 1 stroller strapped to the roof of a car, 1 pack n play (seriously recommended when camping with a little one), and 1 visit to medical professionals ;) yep, that's how we roll.