My great-grandmother was apparently extremely fond of soup and lived until she was almost 100. I'm not saying that soup kept her as spry as a spring chicken, or that soup had anything to do with her longevity. I think it was probably a mix of hard work and good genes that kept her going for so long. Still, I have to think if you're going to survive that many winters in Canada, hearty soup made from scratch can't hurt. Although I only knew my Mémère when I was really young, I always think of her when I'm making, eating and/or dreaming about soup. Soup is deeply rooted in my family tree.
Homemade soup, in my opinion, tastes so much better than the canned stuff. It's got less salt, you can tweak the flavour, and it's made with love. This week, I made a sweet potato soup for my parents that knocked the plush slippers off their feet. I like to spoil them when I'm in town, and cooking for them is always a pleasure. I feel like I'm repaying them for all the happy years of my childhood in edible currency. Here's the warming recipe:
Sweet Potato & Bacon Soup
Recipe adapted from food.com
2 Sweet Potatoes
1 carton of reduced-salt chicken stock (or homemade stock)
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
10 strips of bacon
1/2 tsp. of nutmeg
1- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Halve your sweet potatoes and brush them both with olive oil. Bake them face down for an hour. Peel the skin off (carefully, as they will be hot if you're as impatient as I am) and discard. Set sweet potato aside.
2- In a frying pan, cook your bacon strips until they are extra crispy. Lay them out on a paper towel. Cook your onion in the bacon fat until soft.
3-In a medium-sized pot, combine onion, sweet potato, chicken stock, and nutmeg and bring to boil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes (or longer if you have the opportunity).
4-Puree soup in a blender or food processor. Crumble bacon over individual portions of soup before serving. Prepare to feel warm and fuzzy on the inside.
Vegetarian option: You can always forgo the bacon and use a vegetable broth or stock as a base.