Sweet Potato, Leek, and Fennel Soup

Photograph by Julie Bidwell

Q: I’m stuck in a butternut squash rut when it comes to fall soup. Any ideas for something new?

A: While everyone else is getting excited for the changing autumn leaves and arrival of everything pumpkin spice, we’re celebrating the start of soup season. Fall’s bounty of hearty root vegetables is perfect for slow cooking and this combination of sweet potatoes, leeks, carrots and fennel is bursting with flavor (and that vivid orange color). Brighten with fresh ginger, breathe in the aromatic herbs and enjoy a warm bowl.

4 large sweet potatoes, peeled, roughly cut into small chunks
2 leeks, roughly cut into small chunks
½ white onion, roughly cut into small chunks
1 carrot, peeled, roughly cut into small chunks
2 stalks celery, roughly cut into small chunks
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 large fennel bulb, roughly cut into small chunks
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh oregano
1 star anise
1 tsp pink peppercorns
Oil (for sautéing vegetables)
Salt and pepper

1. Place the rosemary, oregano, star anise, and pink peppercorns into a cheese cloth and tie with string or a rubber band.
2. In a pot, sauté sweet potatoes, leeks, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and fennel until partially soft. Add ginger, nutmeg, and the cheese cloth.
3. Cook for another minute, then add enough water to fully cover vegetables by three inches. If water levels get too low, just add a little more.
4. Bring water to a boil, then simmer until vegetables are soft throughout (at least an hour). You can add a touch of salt and pepper at this time, but not too much.
5. Let cool. Purée until very smooth, and then strain to get out all unnecessary chunks. Season with salt and pepper.

1 cup soup
½ balsamic glazed pear with the center scooped out
1 tablespoon mascarpone (in a squeeze bottle with large tip)
5 candied pecans (optional)pinch rainbow micro greens



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