Thursday, November 15, 2012

Spicy Sweet Potato and Goat Cheese Cream or Soup

So far, I knew only one way of serving sweet potatoes the way I like them--roasted. I cut them in wedges, add a few garlic cloves, drizzle with a very good olive oil, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and fresh rosemary, and bake until slightly brown. Roasted, they become attractively crispy and lose some of the sweetness that, otherwise, I find overwhelming.

But since sweet potatoes are very healthy (rich in Beta-carotene and Vitamin A) I have always been looking for more good ideas on how to prepare them.

When I recently saw in a French magazine a recipe for a spicy sweet potato cream (velouté), I instantly decided to give it a try. Moreover, the recipe included goat cheese and in my refrigerator there was a log of goat cheese waiting to be used. I made some changes to the original recipe to make it less sweet and even more spicy. I think it worked very well--the cream was definitely savory and almost not sweet at all.

I admit this dish is very rich, not only owing to the sweet potatoes but also the generous amount of goat cheese. But, probably because of that, it is also so good. Served in small, testing dishes it can be a nice Thanksgiving party snack that I am sure everyone would enjoy. By adding extra broth you can turn it into a cream soup.

Spicy Sweet Potato and Goat Cheese Cream

1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes,

2 medium shallots,
3 oz goat cheese, at room temperature,
2-3 cups of vegetable or beef broth,
1 tsp harissa or cayenne pepper,
salt and black pepper,
1/4 cup chopped chives,
2 tbsp olive oil.

1. Heat the oil in a large heavy duty pot. Add chopped shallots and fry until transparent. Add potatoes cubes, mix and fry them for about 3 minutes.
2. Pour in 2-3 cups of broth, enough to cover the potatoes, and cook on low heat for about 30 minutes, until potatoes become soft.
3. Take the pot off the heat and using a hand blender make a smooth purée. Put the pot back on the medium heat, add half of the goat cheese and, stirring often, let the cheese melt in the purée.

4. Bring it to boil, let simmer for a minute, and turn off the heat. Let it stand for 5 minutes.
5. Put the other half of the goat cheese in a small bowl, add harissa or cayenne pepper and, using a fork, make a smooth paste.

6. Divide the potato cream among small serving dishes, top with a bit of goat cheese paste and chives. Serve warm.