Tuesday, 6 November 2012

curried sweet potato soup with feta and roasted grapes

curried sweet potato soup with feta and roasted grapes
autumn produce brings with it the promise of substantial soups in colours that celebrate the changing leaves. the kitchen at thirty-two has been romancing soup. we have had autumn gold soups made from the flesh of roasted squash, pumpkin and sweet potatoes or the pink-maroon of knobbly beetroots and the pale cream parsnips. roasting these vegetables emphasises their sweetness but it is just this quality which makes them suited to pungent and sharp cheeses like goat cheese, blue cheese and feta. a much loved spice by most of these vegetables is british curry powder that culls south asian flavours. i will sometimes use a handful of grains like bulghur or quinoa in soups extended with broth as this makes them more substantial. at others i lengthen pureed roast vegetables with milk or cream giving a more lush soup. 

this curried roasted sweet potato soup is inspired by a recipe for roasted grape, goat cheese and honey stuffed sweet potatoes by how sweet it is. the base concept remains faithful to the recipe although some of the ingredients have changed form. i would have loved to use goat cheese but o isn’t keen on it so i crumbled over some feta. the strong saltiness has a similar effect as the sharpness of the goat cheese. o’s appetite demands bread but really the richness of this soup is such that it makes a meal by itself. the curry powder introduces a savoury note. 

{curried sweet potato soup with feta and roasted grapes} 

five hundred grams sweet potatoes 
one hundred grams red grapes 
a drizzle of olive oil 
a knob of butter 
half a teaspoon honey 
a pinch of salt 
half a teaspoon curry powder 
two hundred and fifty ml whole milk 
hundred ml water 
hundred grams feta, crumbled 

preheat your oven to hundred and eight degrees celsius. wash the sweet potatoes thoroughly, prick them with a fork and wrap each one tightly in a square of foil. roast until the flesh is soft to touch (approximately forty-five minutes to an hour). peel the sweet potatoes when cool enough to do so. 

you can roast the grapes at the same time. remove the stems from the grapes and wash and dry them. toss them in a little olive oil (enough to coat them). roast them in small tin for around fifteen minutes. they will wrinkle a bit but have glistening skins. 

puree the roasted sweet potato with a hand blender and then heat in a pan with knob of butter, honey and a pinch of salt. i like to cook the puree on dry heat for around ten minutes to caramelise the sweetness. if you want to do this make sure to stir the puree constantly to prevent it from sticking. if not add the curry powder, milk and water straight away and bring the soup to a gentle boil. you can play around with the water or milk content to your desired consistency. my soup was the consistency of very thick custard. 

ladle the soup into two bowls and garnish with half of the feta and grapes per bowl.

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