Full confession – this cheesy sweet potato soup recipe is a result of me cleaning out my fridge. I love cooking like that, using things I have on hand already, and this soup was the happy by-product of a hodge-podge of ingredients I had hanging around hoping to get noticed. Initially inspired by a sweet potato, my mind got wandering to the idea of soup. As I dug through the fridge I found an almost-too-old carrot and I knew I had an onion hanging around, too. With these three veggies as my base, I knew soup would be perfect. Especially as Michigan teases us with springlike days followed by snowy surprises, a bowl of warm soup is still a cozy comfort.
I start simple by sautéing the peeled and diced sweet potatoes and carrots along with the onion, garlic and thyme. I’m using dried here, but sprigs of fresh thyme would work great, too! Sweating in olive oil to soften, I stir this mixture often, cooking until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
Next, I deglaze with some apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vin is my favorite flavor compliment anytime I cook with sweet potatoes! Once the liquid is absorbed, I pour in some stock. Veggie or chicken stock work well here, depending on your preferences. From there, everything just kinda simmers together for 10-15 minutes or so until soft enough to puree.
Every good dish needs texture, so I decided to use some shallots that were also hanging around, hoping to be noticed, as my crispy garnish for the soup. I slice them thinly with my mandoline, although standard knife skills will suffice, and then I bread them in AP flour. While the veggies simmer in stock is the perfect time to warm some oil in a separate saute pan and fry these little yummy bites into golden brown, crispy goodness. Don’t forget to sprinkle with salt while they are still warm out of the oil.
Once the veggies are very tender, remove the pot from the heat. Before blending, remove sprigs of thyme if you used fresh. I like to use an immersion blender to make soup so I don’t have to do any transferring, but if you only have a blender or food processor, you can do the pureeing in one of those instead. Just be careful anytime you are pureeing hot liquid as any hot, splashing soup can be painful.
One thing to note is that I have purposely used a minimal amount of liquid up until this point. Just enough to simmer the veggies to soft. Since I want to control how thick or thin my soup is, I try not to add too much to start. I can always add liquid later, but if I get doubtful and start adding extra liquid too soon, I might add too much. There isn’t much you can do to remove excess at that point. So don’t be surprised that your puree is pretty thick and not quite soup-like just yet.
Set the puree back into the pot, back over medium heat. Whisk in a cup of milk. After that, if soup is too thick, thin it out with more milk, more stock or even just a little water. Whisk the cheese in a few handfuls at a time, allowing it to melt and incorporate before adding another batch. Check final taste, and season with salt and pepper as desired.
Ladle the soups into bowls and sprinkle with extra cheese and the crispy shallots. I always love to add a final finish of chopped fresh herbs, too, so here I use a little parsley. Serve warm and enjoy!
Cheesy sweet potato soup is slightly creamy, a little bit sweet, and totally delicious.
2 cups sweet potato, peeled and diced, about 12 ounces
3/4 cup carrots, peeled and diced, about 1 medium carrot
1/2 cup onions, sliced
1 small garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup whole or 2% milk
1/2 cup shredded cheese, I used smoked gouda
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, optional
Fried Shallots, Optional:
1 large shallot, peeled and sliced very thin
1/2 cup AP flour, I’ve also used gluten free flour
1 cup vegetable oil
Set a large saucepan or small stock pot over medium heat. Add olive oil and warm. Once warm, add the sweet potato, carrot, onion, garlic and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until onions are softened and translucent, stirring often. About 5 minutes.
Add apple cider vinegar to the veggies and cook for 1-2 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Stir in the stock. Increase heat and bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until veggies are very tender, about 15 minutes. Continue to stir often.
For the crispy shallots, I like to slice the shallots very thin on a mandoline. Then, toss them in a bowl with the AP flour until well coated. Pour enough vegetable oil into a small saucepan so it’s about 1/4″ deep. Set over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add some of the shallots. Lift them out of the flour and shake off the excess before adding them to the pan. Oil should sizzle when you add the shallots. Work in small batches so everything has room to cook. Use a slotted spatula to flip them as they fry so they brown evenly. Lift out of the oil with the same slotted spatula and set them on a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt while hot, then repeat with remaining shallots.
Once veggies are soft, remove pot from heat. If you used fresh sprigs of thyme, remove them. Use an immersion blender to puree soup until smooth. You can also use a blender or food processor. Use caution when blending hot liquids. Mixture will be very thick.
Place the pot of pureed soup back over low heat. Stir in milk, then add cheese a little at a time, stirring until melted and incorporated. Check taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary. If soup is still too thick, thin with more stock, milk or water to reached desired thickness.
Ladle soup into bowls and top with shallots, a little extra cheese and chopped parsley, if desired. Enjoy!