A few weeks ago, I was headed out to CT to visit my dear friend Elissa, and her daughter Ava, and I was on a mission. You see, both daughter and mother were sick and I was just the friend who would swoop in there with my gingham cape, cook up a storm, and nurse them back to health. Turns out, there was a problem.
I was sick, too.
I agreed to still come out (even having a cold is more fun with friends, provided they don’t run the risk of being recruited from Team Healthy to Team Sick), but resolved to the fact that I would not be my politely force-feeding self. I just didn’t have it in me.
This was the soup I dreamt of making for my girls, and since I had the ingredients set to fulfill their destinies I cooked it up that following week, as soon as I felt the veil of lethargy lift. It turned out to be good timing, too, as this is the sort of soup that restores you. It is creamy, warm, a little spicy and sweet. It satisfies your hunger and embraces your chilled bones. It is the most delicious kind of medicinal.
You will want to make this all season long: healthy, sick, alone, or sandwiched between friends and family you love.
As for my culinary-inspired trip to CT, we subsisted on an artisanal orange juice known as Tropicana, and a lovely, syrupy drink known as Robitussin. It was divine.
Sweet Potato Soup with Apple, Ginger, and Toasted Pepitas
Adapted from “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook,” by Amy Traverso.
Yield: 6 cups
1 lb. sweet potatoes (about 2), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
½ lb. baby-cut carrots
1 large apple, unpeeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
5 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 inch-long piece ginger, peeled and cut into medium chunks
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bay leaf
3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
½ cup apple cider
Optional garnish: 1/4 cup pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, toasted
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, toss the sweet potatoes, carrots and apple with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Arrange on a foil-lined sheet pan (shiny side up) and roast until tender, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to a pot and set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, bay leaf and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cook until the onions just begin to turn golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the roasted vegetables, broth and cider, stir, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf from the pot and use an immersion blender or regular blender to puree the soup until smooth. If using a regular blender, process the soup in three batches to avoid splattering hot liquid. Return the pureed soup to the pot, taste for seasoning, and serve garnished with pepitas if desired.