A recipe for fall – Sweet Potato Bisque
The start of the autumn season brings cooler weather and the rainbow of transforming leaves welcome us every time we step outside our door.
It also earmarks the beginning of how our vision of food and celebration starts to change.
With the dog days of summer behind us, we are no longer as worried about our bathing suit images, and the calendar lineup of commemorations is welcoming us with open arms.
For many, this means indulgences in comfort foods to warm the soul, satisfy our hunger, and highlight the gatherings of family, friends and loved ones.
Eating is a huge part of the social aspect of our lives, but this does not always have to signify a complete abandonment of healthy choices.
There are many ways to pacify our desires with foods that are still very nutritious, without leaving us feeling void of pampered appetites.
This Fat Free Sweet Potato Bisque is the perfect fall recipe to accomplish this in your kitchen.
Sweet potatoes are loaded with beta carotene (recognizable from their orange color) and are high in vitamins A and C. Their moist sweet texture is ideal for mimicking richness, when in fact there is no added fat in this recipe whatsoever.
Many are confused by the differences between sweet potatoes and yams, and this is due to the misinterpretation of the grocery industry.
Sweet potatoes have orange colored flesh, while yams are starchier, less flavorful, and have whiter paler flesh. The names here are usually mismatched with each other, but in Europe, for example, the names are assigned accurately.
Although this soup is great served by itself, it is a remarkable first course to introduce traditional holiday flavors of stuffed turkey, cranberries, and all the trimmings.
The addition of nutmeg and cloves gives it a warm earthiness and highlights the incredible natural flavor the sweet potato has to offer.
The elegance of the presentation is heightened when beautifully garnished with swirls of sour cream and a sparse scattering of freshly chopped parsley.
With the autumn air surrounding us, this soup will help to soothe our cravings of comfort food while helping us watch our waistlines... at least with the first course!
Fat Free Sweet Potato Bisque
Makes approximately 6 portions as a first course
1 orange sweet potato, peeled, diced
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp salt
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground white pepper
3 ½ cups skim milk
¼ cup no-fat sour cream
1 tbsp skim milk
fresh parsley, finely chopped
In a steamer in a large pot, steam the diced sweet potato over boiling water for 20 minutes until fully cooked and tender.
Discard the water, and place the cooked sweet potato back into the pot, off the heat, and set the steamer aside.
Add the brown sugar, salt, nutmeg, cloves, and white pepper to the sweet potato and combine thoroughly with a potato masher, ensuring no lumps.
Once fully mashed, start adding 1 ½ cups of the skim milk slowly while continuing to mash with the potato masher. Switch to a whisk, turn the heat to medium, and blend in the remaining 2 cups of skim milk, mixing thoroughly.
Stir occasionally over medium heat until completely heated through. Taste and adjust the seasonings of salt and pepper, if necessary.
While soup is heating, combine the sour cream with the tablespoon of milk.
Portion the soup into bowls and drizzle small amounts of the sour cream mixture on each portion. Drag a toothpick back and forth across the surface to create a beautiful design.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately.
Chef Dez is a food columnist, culinary instructor and cookbook author. Visit him at www.chefdez.com. Send your food/cooking questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 2674, Abbotsford, BC V2T 6R4.