Roasted Sweet Potato Soup with Fried Sage

Roasted Sweet Potato Soup with Fried Sage

November 9, 2009 · 41 comments

It has been way too long – years, it feels like, but only weeks in actual time. Thank you all so much for your kind words and well wishes for my father. I am happy to report that he is doing much better and will hopefully be leaving the hospital any day now.  As for me, I left the hospital, and my family, with a whole new outlook and an experience I will never forget.

I promised duck fat fries, but after two weeks of eating take-out in the hospital’s waiting room, I was in need of some nutrients. I have to say, eating “healthy” on Long Island is quite a challenge. The nearest Whole Foods was ten miles away, and even organic milk was in limited supply.

I put healthy in quotes because people out there seem to have a different idea of what healthy means. To me, healthy means natural. It means unprocessed, free of chemicals, whole. To others, it means fat-free, low in calories or lacking carbs. Long Islanders overall seem not too concerned about what is in their food, as long as it won’t make them fat. I’m exaggerating, a little, by painting this “me vs. them” mentality, but it’s really not too far from the truth. I understand it’s not always easy –or possible – to find organic local produce, but I do have one suggestion for my fellow Long Islanders: Look at your labels. If you are buying fat-free, fortified or gluten –free foods, read the ingredients first, and if there are two or more you can’t pronounce, put it back. It’s not worth it.

sweet potato soup 4

At my first trip back to the farmers’ market I was greeted by squash, peppers, almonds, pecans, carrots, apples and the slight chill of autumn in Berkeley. As I was paying for my gianormous buttercup squash, I spotted bright red organic sweet potatoes beckoning to be pureed into a soup. I added coconut milk, chicken stock, fried sage leaves and a drizzle of fresh Olio Nuevo. If I was cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year, this soup would undoubtedly be on the menu.

A word on chicken stock: I know it’s a pain to make your own chicken stock – really, I know. There’s nothing fun about picking through bones and skimming off fat. I do think it’s worth the time and effort, but realistically, it doesn’t happen often, even in my kitchen. But, I do go out of my way to find high-quality stock when I don’t make my own. First, ask your local butcher if they have homemade stock. If not, look for Stock Options. It’s  second best to homemade. I used the roasted chicken broth for this soup, but the vegetable Stock would work just as well.

sweet potato soup

Roasted Sweet Potato Soup with Fried Sage
Serves 5  Cook time: About 1 hour

3 ½ pounds organic sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 can coconut milk
3-4 cups homemade or high-quality chicken stock (depending on how thick you like your soup. I used a little over 3 cups)
1 bunch organic fresh sage
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3 large shallots, peeled and chopped
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 425F. Arrange sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle on about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add salt and pepper, and toss with your hands to coat. Roast for 30 minutes, flipping the potatoes after 25 minutes.

Finely chop about 6 sage leaves. Pour coconut milk into a small space pan, and throw in chopped sage. Cook on low heat until it simmers, and take off heat. Set aside.

Heat up a Dutch oven on medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add shallots and cook for 3 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic and continue cooking for 2 more minutes. Throw in roasted sweet potatoes and stir. Cook for 5 minutes. Lower heat and add coconut milk – stir – and add 2 cups of chicken stock. Continue to stir, breaking up the sweet potatoes with the back of your spoon. Stir in the rest of the chicken stock, a little at a time, until fully incorporated. Add a sprinkle of salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Pour soup into a food processor and puree until smooth. When serving, drizzle on high-quality olive oil and top with fried sage.

Fried Sage Leaves:
Heat up olive oil in a small cast iron pan. Add sage leaves and cook for one minute. Drain on a paper towel.

I almost forgot! Thanks to everyone who voted for Local Lemons for the Foodbuzz awards. Although I didn’t take home a prize, it was an incredible event and I was honored to even be in the running. I’m working on a new Local Lemons facebook fan page, and will post event photos shortly.

Where I Shopped:
Organic sweet potatoes and organic sage: Happy Boy Farms, Temescal Farmers Market in Oakland
Organic shallots and garlic: Avalos Farms, Temescal Market in Oakland
Stock Options roasted chicken stock: Ver Brugge, Oakland
Olio Nuevo: California Olive Ranch (I received the bottle for free at the Foodbuzz Olive Oil Tasting seminar. But honestly, I was planning on buying it anyway)

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Del November 9, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Hey lady – glad you’re Dad is feeling better – and I know exactly what you mean about differing definitions of ‘healthy’. I cringe a little bit on the inside every time I see a friend or loved one buy something that is full of additives and chemicals, thinking they’re getting something healthy. :-/

Welcome back!



Frenchie November 9, 2009 at 6:50 pm

So happy to have you back, way to come back with a storm, a recipe like this deserves a standing ovation. I am kind of a soup freak and a sweet potato freak, looks like I know what I am making this week. Just out of curiosity what is that delicious looking breadstick that you have with that soup? Looks almost as good as the soup, I love pumpkin seeds.


Natalie November 9, 2009 at 7:01 pm

Welcome back! So glad to hear your dad is doing better.

This looks wonderful and I really like the fried sage leaves idea! Beautiful and deelish. Could you drop some off for my lunch tomororw? I second Frechie’s question about the seeded breadstick. Also, good to know about Stock Options!


giao {kiss my spatula} November 9, 2009 at 8:53 pm

glad to have you back! absolutely stunning photos for an absolutely stunning soup!


Allison Arevalo November 9, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Hi Natalie and Frenchie – I wish I remembered the name of the bakery, but I can tell you they are at the Temescal Market on Sundays. It is a killer breadstick – worth every penny of the $2 price tag.


Danielle November 9, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Happy to hear that your dad is getting better! I heart Stock Options too, they’re a great alternative when home-made stocks are not available. Looking forward to the Foodbuzz pics!


Gastronomer November 9, 2009 at 10:17 pm

The soup looks beautiful! It was a pleasure seeing you and Alejandro this weekend. You guys are awesome!


Dana November 9, 2009 at 10:41 pm

Allison, so glad you had good news to report. I’ve been thinking of you and we have certainly all missed you here. Congrats on getting such great soup photos! I feel like soup is one of the hardest things to photograph well.


Amy November 10, 2009 at 3:49 am

That soup looks incredible! I have been in a soup making mood lately and will have to add that to my bookmarks! Have a great week.


Jason Sandeman November 10, 2009 at 6:32 am

What a lovely soup. I humbly suggest 2 things though -

I am a person who believes in maintaining the natural flavor of a soup. What I mean by this is I do not like to use a meat stock in a vegetable soup, because I believe it masks the original flavor. I use a vegetable stock instead.

Second, I wonder how the dish would taste if you drizzled a bit of that wonderful sage oil on the top. I am sure it would take that soup over the top.


Allison Arevalo November 10, 2009 at 7:10 pm

Hi Jason – Thanks so much for your suggestions! I absolutely agree about the vegetable stock. To be honest, I was planning on using it but my grocer only had the chicken stock. Since the soup turned out so good, I kept the chicken stock in the recipe. And the sage oil – great idea! I will definitely do that next time.


Jennifer November 10, 2009 at 7:31 am

I’m happy to read the good news about your Dad. This soup looks scrumptious and must be a bowlful of comfort. Welcome back!


Erica November 10, 2009 at 7:34 am

Glad your father is doing better!!!That soups looks rich and delicious.


Maria November 10, 2009 at 8:41 am

I love the fried sage on top, nice touch!


Chez Us November 10, 2009 at 10:01 am

Allison, it was so nice to see you this weekend and we are really glad to hear your dad is doing much better!

The soup looks amazing just as amazing as the tomato one and I am sure it tasted fantastic! I have never thought of using sweet potatoes in a soup but why not, we use regular ones. Thanks for the inspiration!


Trissa November 10, 2009 at 11:57 am

You have got one gorgeous site going here… the pictures are amazing, the recipe are just fabulous! I will definitely be back again and again and again!


Jessica Lee Binder November 10, 2009 at 3:54 pm

I’m so happy your dad is doing well! I know what you’re saying about Long Island because we go out there to visit my husband’s family. It’s true. Next time you’re in NY, we can frolic through the farmer’s market together.


Angela@spinachtiger November 10, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Just exactly the way I like this. Thick and autumny. The picture is beautiful and so are you. It was awesome to meet in person.


Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction November 10, 2009 at 8:54 pm

What a beautiful soup! I love the fried sage leaves on the top.


ajira November 11, 2009 at 2:24 am

Since I’m a huge fan of sweet potato… and actually all of the ingredients in this recipe, I’ll certainly be trying it soon. My mother is a champion soup maker so I’ve been hesitant to try it since I’ve been certain that I’d fall short. I’ve been mustering the guts to try it though so I may well soon become a soup making demon! LOL.

So grateful to hear that your father is improving. Will continue to keep you and yours in our thoughts.


Lea Ann November 11, 2009 at 5:16 am

There is a restaurant here in Denver that puts fried sage leaves next to each one of the butternut squash ravioli’s. It’s so delicious. I’ve never tried it myself. Thanks for the post.


radish November 11, 2009 at 6:20 am

So glad your father is doing better!! I totally hear you on the “healthy” debate. Back where my parents live in a MA suburb – fat free, or carb free is synonymous with healthy (as are things like Splenda and such). The soup looks amazing – and so comforting. Also, I’m quite in love with your spoon! I like antique spoons quite a bit.


eatpress November 11, 2009 at 6:44 am

Delicious! We use coconut milk in our pumpkin soup too- doesn’t it work brilliantly?! This recipe with the sage also looks wonderful, will be trying it this evening.


Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen November 11, 2009 at 12:23 pm

I am so glad to hear about your father! :) That is great news! I was thinking about you this weekend at the Foodbuzz Festival, when I read your blog as a nominee for the awards!

This soup looks incredible. And yes, making your own stock is completely worth it!


Darya November 11, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Love this post, and definitely want to try this recipe. I’m so into soup right now!

Funny about the Long Islanders too. The other day someone called me a fringe eating food purist?! Just because I buy food from farmers I guess. So weird.


Ashley November 11, 2009 at 6:51 pm

So glad to hear your dad is feeling better.
You and I have the same definition of “healthy”. Although I seem to think sugar is healthy too because I can’t stop eating it. Oh well.


rach November 24, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Lovely…and the fried sage leaves are inspired.


Dolores November 30, 2009 at 11:55 am

I’ve got a bowl of sweet potatoes at home patiently waiting for the perfect recipe. I think I found it… thank you!


The Food Hunter December 4, 2009 at 12:40 pm

Soup looks really good!


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