I like most of my clothing to be black or, alternately, vibrant colors like orange, neon green, hot pink, or red, but never pastels.
And I like my soups to be either big, chunky bits of meat and vegetables — cooked separately then arranged in a bowl and covered with broth — or smooth, veggie-infused purées, but never “throw a bunch of stuff into a pot and simmer” soups.
This morning, a tweet from Cook’s Illustrated sent me to the kitchen to adapt their Sweet Potato Soup with Bacon and Chives. Less than an hour later, I had a big pot of warm hug ready to be eaten. Until now, Dave hasn’t shared my enthusiasm for soup at breakfast, but he slurped up a bowl of this comforting concoction without complaint. Must be the bacon! (It’s worth noting that when he named the photo he took this morning, he called it “bacon_soup” not “sweet_potato_soup.”)
This recipe appears in my cookbook Well Fed 2: More Paleo Recipes For People Who Love To Eat.
Paleo Sweet Potato Soup With Bacon
Prep 5 min. | Cook 25 min. | Makes 8 cups, about 10 3/4 cup servings
NOTE: This is adapted from Cook’s Country to use my favorite spices and to be Whole30 compliant. I cut back a little on the fat because I don’t think it needs quite as much as Cook’s recommends, and I added Ras el Hanout and more garlic. If you eat sweet potatoes as a post-workout recovery food, this is a lovely alternative to your usual. I usually eat about 1/2 cup sweet potatoes at once, and 3/4 cup of this soup is roughly the equivalent amount of dense carbs. Also, let’s talk about bacon. I’m not a bacon fanatic, but I do like the depth of flavor added by our porky friend. Each serving of this soup gets about a 1/2 slice of bacon, so it’s more a seasoning condiment than a primary ingredient.
6 slices sugar-free, nitrate-free bacon (like this from US Wellness Meats)
1 onion, finely diced
1 teaspoons Ras el Hanout
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
dash cayenne pepper
5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 pounds sweet potatoes (2-3 large), peeled, quartered lengthwise, and sliced thin
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
garnish: fresh or dried chives
1. Cut bacon into 1/4-inch slices and place in a cold soup pot. Heat the pot over medium-high heat and cook the bacon until it’s crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate covered with paper towels and set aside to drain and crisp.
2. Keep 1 tablespoon of the fat in the pan and discard the rest. Re-heat the fat over medium-high heat, then add the onions, Ras el Hanout, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, about 5-7 minutes. Toss in the garlic and stir, cooking until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Add the sweet potatoes, broth, and water to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
4. Working in batches and being careful (please be careful, friends!), purée the soup in a food processor or blender until it’s smooth. Return to the pot, taste, and adjust seasonings. Ladle into bowls, then sprinkle with a little bacon and chives. Both the bacon and soup hold up well in the fridge for a few days.
I ate mine at breakfast, just like described above, but you might want to try a few of these:
— serve in a shallow bowl and top with fried eggs
— make it dinner by topping with cooked ground beef, shredded chicken, or pulled pork
— drizzle with a little melted ghee and extra Ras el Hanout
— sprinkle the top with some crushed Savory Paleo Granola
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