My favorite food blog of all time, without a doubt, hands down, is Smitten Kitchen, created by Deb Perelman. Her collection of recipes is admirable, and it’s my “go to” when I want to impress whoever it is I’m cooking for (even if it’s just myself). In fact, my list of “Recipes to Conquer” consists mostly of Smitten Kitchen discoveries. Her arsenal is neatly organized and easy to navigate, and her site even includes a fun “Surprise Me” feature if you want to take a gamble on whatever pops up. Each of Deb’s recipes include the most insanely salivating, step-by-step photographs to match. Truthfully, I’ve tortured myself during “that time of the month” with pictures of her Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake.
Another plus is Deb updates Smitten Kitchen about twice a week, so you never have to wait long for the latest addition to her collection. Best of all, her writing style is descriptive and hilarious, and you could imagine the way she writes is probably the way she talks. Deb’s stories and reviews leave you feeling as if you talked to an old friend, so much so that my good friend Allison and I talk about her as if she’s one of the girls.
Allison “introduced” me to Deb about a year and a half ago, and many of our conversations revolve around Smitten Kitchen updates. For example, Allison tried the Tomato and Sausage Risotto (which has become one of my staples) last weekend and raved about it. In turn, she recommended to me the Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup, which I’ve been eyeing for so long. Once I reviewed the recipe again and realized I had many of the ingredients, or substitutions, I figured it was meant to be.
Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup
Bon Appetit, October 2007
Makes 8 servings
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 10- to 11-ounce fully cooked smoked Portuguese linguica sausage or chorizo sausage,
cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (Spanish chorizo can be substituted)
2 medium onions, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams; about 2 large), peeled, quartered lengthwise,
cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 pound white-skinned potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
6 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 9-ounce bag fresh spinach
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook until brown,
stirring often, about 8 minutes. Transfer sausage to paper towels to drain.
Add onions and garlic to pot and cook until translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
Add all potatoes and cook until beginning to soften, stirring often, about 12 minutes.
Add broth; bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until
potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Using potato masher, mash some of potatoes in pot.
Add browned sausage to soup. Stir in spinach and simmer just until wilted, about 5 minutes.
Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among bowls and serve.
The “substitute” ingredients I had available were kielbasa (un-smoked) and collard greens, which took the place of the sausage and spinach. Additionally, I cubed the sweet potatoes because I found them to be a lot harder than the white potatoes, which helped even out their cooking time.
Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup is perfect for a quick and easy dinner without sacrificing flavor, and it’s a wonderful twist on a typical “meat and potatoes” meal. Initially, I wondered why the recipe called for two types of potatoes, and the end result proved to me that the sweet potatoes needed to mellow out with the white potatoes. Additionally, the two together give the soup a thick, stew-like texture. I have no doubt that this would have been just as perfect with spinach, however I was pleased that the collard greens held up well in the hot broth and maintained a little crunch.
My only recommendation is to stick with chorizo, like the recipe calls for. Though I enjoy kielbasa, I never before tried the un-smoked variety and did not realize it had a rather pungent taste – much different from what I’m used to: grilled, on a perfect roll with some hot mustard. Thankfully, cooking the meat separately and adding it to the broth mixture at the end avoided the strong taste from being absorbed into the liquid too much, and it was easy to eat around.