Sweet potato soup, scented with cumin

6 years ago
Sweet Potato Bisque with Cumin by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books


It’s hotter than H-E-double hockey sticks outside, and I’m in the mood for soup. Since the highs are in the upper 90s with Code Orange smog alerts, we venture out in the early mornings and evenings and soak up chilled, conditioned indoor air through the heat of the day. It may not be cool enough indoors for a sweater, but a bowl of creamy, light soup seems just right for lunch.

In honor of the Code Orange smog alert, (and I may be making that up, because it reminds me of the terror alerts, so I’ll just say that the outside air is bad), I made a creamy vegetable soup with roasted sweet potatoes, scented with cumin and finished with plain, non-fat yogurt. I really want to call this soup a bisque, even though a proper bisque uses a seafood broth. The milky, peachy hue is reminiscent of a shrimp bisque.

This soup comes together easily, especially if you use leftover roasted sweet potatoes. When dinner’s in the oven, I’ll pull out a few potatoes, prick them with a fork, place them on a baking tray (or in a foil packet) and let them cook alongside the meal, 30 minutes in a moderate oven usually does the trick. The cooked potatoes can be wrapped up and refrigerated for a few days before creating this soup.

Sweet potato bisque with cumin


The cumin gives it a little zip, but if you’re not a fan, just leave it out and perhaps experiment with something else from the herb garden or spice rack. Thyme? Cilantro? Lemon verbena?

1 lb. sweet potatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 large shallot, minced

3 cups water

1/2 vegetable bouillon cube

1 teaspoon cumin

1 cup non-fat plain yogurt

1. Preheat oven to 350. Pierce sweet potatoes with fork or knife and place on baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 30 to 45 minutes, until tender. Test for doneness by inserting a knife or fork into the tuber – it’s done when completely tender. Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle.

2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat olive oil and sautee shallot until tender. Add water, bouillon cube and cumin and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.

3. Squeeze sweet potato flesh into bowl of a food processor fitted with blade. Process for 30 seconds, to create a smooth puree. Gradually add seasoned broth to puree, processing until smooth. Add yogurt and process for about 10 seconds. Adjust seasoning and serve. Garnish with fresh herbs – I used parsley from my porch garden.

I used vegetable bouillon, one of my favorite shortcut tricks to add flavor to soups. If you have homemade vegetable or chicken broth, go right ahead and use that. Water will work fine, too.

Text and images copyright 2011, Lucy Mercer.

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