Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I'm in the mood for soup...

My mother is the food queen in my world. She can cook anything and everything she cooks is amazing. I always look forward to our visits because they are very food centric. We always eat well. I am really looking forward to our visit this weekend, partly because I just love spending time with my parents, but also because I know whatever we eat it's going to be amazing.

One of the things my mother does really well is cook amazing soup. We grew up with a fabulous lamb shank and vegetable soup, which we used to call "Mumster Soup" and it is still the cure for all ills in our household. It makes a wonderful winter lunch or dinner with a few sausage rolls. Bliss. I honestly cant think of anything better.

Although I love Mumster Soup and it has such wonderful associations with my childhood, it's not my favourite soup that my Mum cooks. That honour is held by her sweet potato and fig soup. It doesn't sound like a natural combination, or even a good basis for a soup, but it is absolutely delicious. Actually, I think it's beyond delicious - it's the food of the gods.

When it gets dark early like it's doing at the moment and you are really starting to feel the cold, a bowl of this is what you need. It has almost restorative powers. It makes any cold and rainy evening feel better. And it's unusual enough to make you want to come back for more, time and time again.

Mrs Kitty's Sweet Potato and Fig Soup

100mls olive oil
1 large onion
2 sticks of celery
2 carrots
1.5 Kilos sweet potatoes
150g sugar (you can use less - I do)
50ml balsamic vinegar
500g figs
2 litres chicken stock

Cut celery, onions and carrot into uniform dice. Heat oil in stock pot or large saucepan and saute celery, onions and carrot for a few minutes until they become fragrant and add sweet potato cut into smallish cubes. Cook for a few minutes until the sweet potato starts to soften a little.

Add the sugar and allow to caramelize. Cook until the liquid in the pan becomes a golden brown. Add the balsamic vinegar and bring to the boil. Slice the figs into quarters and add to the soup, stirring gently through the other ingredients. Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook gently until all the ingredients are soft.

Take off the heat and blend in a blender or using a stick blender or bamix until the soup is smooth. Serve with a spoon of sour cream or creme fraiche or a drizzle of balsamic and with a side of bread.

Makes enough for dinner and some for the freezer for emergency soothing and de-stressing.



amy said...

I am so glad you posted this - I was very curious when you mentioned it the other day at the fish market, and went home to tell Dan about it! :) Thanks for the recipe, Kitty!


Miss Kitty-Cat said...

I was planning on posting it earlier but I had to dig out the recipe! It's a great soup - but consider reducing the sugar a little. I start with a couple of tablespoons and add a little more if it needs it.

amy said...

Kitty do you use the orange sweet potato for this - kumara? Or the purple/white one?

PS I made the Chorizo & Beans tonight to feed my sick husband, inspired by your last post. Can we say "Winner"?! I'll blog my enthusiasm at some point! Thanks for the idea :)

Miss Kitty-Cat said...

I use the orange sweet potato - kumara. Glad to hear the chorizo and beans was a success! What did you serve it with? PS: hope Dan feels better soon...

amy said...

We had it 'straight' - with crusty bread. I overdosed with the chilli, but I think it will do dan the world of good. I like your huevos rancheros idea though, I'd like to try that at some point. There weren't many leftovers from this batch, I must confess! :)

Not Quite Nigella said...

What an unusual but delicious sounding soup! I tend to gobble figs down in a matter of seconds but I'm quite intrigued by this. It sounds like it would be warming and quite sweet :)

Miss Kitty-Cat said...

NQN - it is worth the effort. It's sweet but not in a sugary kind of way because the sugar caramelises and the figs have a deep earthy sweetness to them. It's definitely worth trying if you can hold off on devouring the figs straight!