Creamy Sweet Potato and Pecan Soup

Serves 6.

Note: The longer you sauté the onions, the better; if I have time, I just turn the burner to low and let them caramelize for an hour. The cayenne provides a tiny bit of sparkle in the dish, cutting the richness with a tingle of heat. For less heat, try it with just a pinch and see how you like it. From Robin Asbell.

• 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

• 2 medium yellow onions, chopped

• 2 medium sweet potatoes, about 6 c., 1/2 in.-cubes

• 1/2 c. pecan pieces plus 1/2 c. pecan halves, divided

• 1 tsp. dried thyme

• 1 1/2 tsp. salt

• 1 c. nondairy creamer or half-and-half

• 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

• 2 tbsp. fresh sage, slivered


Place a large pot over medium-high heat and drizzle in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onions and stir until they start to sizzle, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for at least 5 minutes, until soft and golden.

Add the sweet potatoes, pecan pieces (not halves) and thyme and stir, cook for about 5 minutes longer. Add 2 cups water and salt, and increase the heat to bring to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.

The sweet potatoes should be very tender when pierced with a knife. Transfer the mixture to a blender, being careful with the hot liquid. Secure the lid and hold it down with a folded towel, and blend the soup until smooth. Add the creamer or half-and-half and cayenne, then blend again until smooth. Transfer to the pot and reheat as needed.

For the garnish, place a small sauté pan over medium heat. Drizzle in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and add the pecan halves. Stir and toast the pecans for about 2 minutes, then add the sage leaves. Stir and cook until the sage is dark green and fragrant and the pecans are lightly toasted, about 30 seconds more. Transfer to a bowl.

Serve soup in individual bowls, topped with a heaping tablespoon of pecans and sage.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 335 Fat 20 g Sodium 670 mg

Carbohydrates 38 g Saturated fat 2 g Added sugars 2 g

Protein 4 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 6 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 starch, 1 ½ carb, 4 fat.