This weekend I was in search of the perfect light and healthy dinner. I mentally searched my repertoire — which, as you can imagine, is quite vast — and my mind quickly settled on this creamy, luscious Roasted Sweet Potato and Rosemary Soup.
You see, I am spending an extended weekend in the sunny, beautiful Napa Valley — that’s the heart of California wine country for those of that you that might live under a rock. I get down here every other month in order to relieve my uncle of his care-taking duties of my 92 year-old grandmother for a long weekend. She enjoys seeing me, I love creating more memories with my Nana, and it gives me an excuse to escape the perpetual rain of the Pacific NW for the land of sun and endless vineyards.
Being an enthusiastic foodie, I also enjoy the tremendous food scene that Napa has to offer. On this trip, my Nana treated me to lunch at Bottega, an upscale restaurant owned by one of my favorite TV chefs, Michael Chiarello. We shared a starter of grilled prawns on a bed of shaved fennel and grapefruit in a citrus vinaigrette (which I am totally going to attempt to recreate) and then she had an entree of grilled skirt steak and I had the beet and rabiolo ravioli. Of course, we also each had a glass of wine to accompany the experience. It was a little slice of heaven.
We left the restaurant, my Nana slightly staggering and clutching my arm for balance, full and satiated. We wandered the adjoining V Marketplace, ooing and aahing over the pretty (and very expensive) jewelry, chocolates, and assorted other sundries in the shop windows. Then I bundled her in the car and we headed back to my aunt and uncle’s house where she promptly fell into a food coma on the couch.
Such a rich mid-day meal calls for a light dinner, but I also wanted something easy since on this particular night my aunt and uncle had escaped to Bodega Bay and I was in charge of my Nana as well as my aunt’s 87 year-old mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s. This is where my Roasted Sweet Potato and Rosemary Soup comes in.
This soup is not only the perfect light meal, it’s also very easy to prepare, containing only 7 ingredients including the salt. I love to roast the sweet potatoes with a little olive oil first as it lends an even sweeter and caramelized flavor to the dish. I then saute minced shallots and rosemary in a little olive oil, deglazing the pan with a bit of white wine for additional flavor.
When cooking with wine, it’s always important to use a quality wine as well as one that will impart complementary flavors to the dish you’re preparing. I normally like to cook with a sauvignon blanc when I’m preparing a dish that incorporates white wine, but sauvignon blanc is often very crisp and citrusy, which does not pair well with the sweet potato. So for this recipe, I chose a creamy, buttery, oaky Napa Valley Chardonnay. It was perfect.
Once the reduction is complete, I blend in the sweet potatoes, chicken broth, and a little bit of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt, which adds a little creaminess to the dish without the fat and calories of traditional cream. On this particular night, I got to experiment with my aunt’s immersion blender for this dish, and I have to tell you I am in love. I fell so in love with it that when I gushed to my aunt about it, she promptly went out and bought me one to take home. Have I mentioned that I am blessed with the greatest family ever?
I love to eat a bowl of this sweet, thick soup with a simple side salad and a couple of slices of baguette warmed with a dab of sweet and nutty cheese, such as a good gouda. It’s the perfect light meal to close out a wonderful day of rich, happy memories.
Roasted Sweet Potato and Rosemary Soup
Recipe by Colleen Fields
There are a lot of recipes out there for sweet potato soup, and some that even incorporate rosemary. I’ve changed it up a bit, though, by first roasting the sweet potatoes for a sweeter, caramelized flavor. I then mix that together with some mildly sweet sauteed shallots and fragrant rosemary in a white wine reduction for a creamy bowl of pure deliciousness.
Yield: 4 servings
- 1.5 lbs raw sweet potatoes
- 4 tsp olive oil
- 2 shallots, minced (about 1/4 cup minced)
- Pinch coarse sea salt
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
- 4 cups homemade, salt-free chicken broth
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Halve the sweet potatoes lengthwise and lay cut-side up on a baking sheet. Use 2 tsp of the olive oil to brush the cut sides of the sweet potatoes. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Heat the remaining 2 tsp of olive oil in a deep soup pot over medium heat. Add the shallots, rosemary and sea salt and cook until the shallots have browned up, about 5 minutes. Stir in the white wine, using the back of a wooden spoon to scrape up all of the bits of shallot and rosemary stuck to the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking until the wine has reduced by half.
Meanwhile, remove the cooked sweet potatoes from their skins and place them in a food processor. Add the Greek yogurt and about half of the chicken broth. Pulse until the mixture is smooth and creamy, adding additional broth as necessary. Pour into the pan with the shallots and rosemary and add the remaining broth. Cook over low heat until the soup has reached the desired temperature. Serve immediately.
- (Note: If you have an immersion blender, you can add the sweet potatoes, yogurt and broth directly to the shallots and rosemary and puree right in the pot. Note that using this method will make for a very smooth soup since the shallots and rosemary will also be pureed, whereas with the food processor method you will still have some texture in the soup since the shallots and rosemary are not pureed.)
Nutritional Information: Calories 226.7, Total Fat 4.8g, Cholesterol 0.0mg, Sodium 209.9mg, Total Carbs 37.6g, Dietary Fiber 5.2g, Protein 7.3g