Sweet Bisque

There is light at the end of this tunnel that is the longest, darkest, coldest winter in my memory. January was so long, so cold, so gloomy. It snowed. When (if) the snow started to melt, it would snow again. There was smog so thick we might have been in Beijing. You could taste it, and let me tell you, it's not a taste you wanna taste. The smog was so thick you couldn't see the mountains less than five miles away - the ones that are so big, you can usually see them from anywhere in the valley. Buildings a block away loomed like shadows in the smog - if you were lucky to see that far.

As February began, it started to warm up - and clear up - in fits and starts. The sun came out every now and then. I dared not get my hopes up because I knew there was plenty more winter to go around. There still is. But I've seen the sun, and the mountains, and even the ground, which has been covered and re-covered with snow these last months. And there's light at the end of the tunnel. I can't wait for spring, for life, to begin anew.

Even so, there are cold days where a nice hot bowl of soup is all you need. This is one of those soups. It's amazing - sweet and a little spicy, smooth and creamy too.  I was skeptical about the hot sauce because I'm not so big on the stuff, but it turned out to be what really made the soup. Without it, I suspect it would taste more like pie. Not a bad thing, if that's what you're in the mood for. But seriously, give the hot sauce a chance! You'll be glad you did.

Sweet Potato Bisque

You can prepare the roasted sweet potatoes in advance, or use leftover cooked sweet potatoes from another meal. This soup makes about 4 servings, depending on how hungry folks are.

  • 2 medium-large sweet potatoes, roasted
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, or more to taste
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Heavy cream, if desired
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Saute onions in butter, then add in the spices. Add sweet potatoes and liquids. Mash it all together so it's well combined.

If it looks more like mashed potatoes than a thick soup, add more liquid (water or milk or both) until it's a little bit thinner than your desired consistency. It will thicken some as it cooks. Simmer about 20 minutes.

Blend using a stick blender for a smooth bisque, or serve as is if you prefer more texture.

Garnish with a few drops of hot sauce and cream. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot. Tastes fine the next day as leftovers (or you could make ahead).

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