A Beautiful Warm Winter Soup

Now is the time for soup (and Lattes, of course). Warm, cozy soup. Being that it has been cold, windy and a bit snowy in my hometown of Arlington, Virginia all week, soup has definitely been on the menu.

A favorite in the Lyon household is my Sweet Potato-Carrot Ginger Soup with Candied Pecans (from Great Food Starts Fresh). This is a perfect winter soup because it has a little kick of heat from fresh ginger and cayenne pepper and it’s super easy to make – a one pot wonder.

Plus, it’s gorgeous! Enjoy.

Sweet Potato Carrot Soup with Candied Pecans

Sweet Potato-Carrot Soup with Candied Spiced Pecans

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

7 medium carrots, peeled and chopped roughly (3½ cups)

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped roughly (3 cups)

1 large apple, peeled, cored, and chopped roughly (2 cups)

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated on a Microplane

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more to taste

1/16 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more to taste

1 tablespoon honey, preferably orange blossom

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided, plus more to taste

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Candied Spiced Pecans (recipe below), for serving

Fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped roughly, for serving

1. Combine the carrots, sweet potatoes, apple, and stock in a large saucepan over high heat. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for approximately 30 minutes until both the sweet potatoes fall apart and the carrots are soft and can be pierced easily with a fork. Remove from the heat.

2. Blend the mixture to a smooth texture carefully with an immersion blender.

3. Add the grated ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, honey, lemon juice and olive oil to the saucepan and continue to blend. Season to taste with additional lemon juice, salt and pepper; add more cayenne pepper for heat and more cinnamon for sweetness.

4. Serve in soup bowls topped with candied spiced pecans and chopped parsley.

Note: If you prefer a slightly thinner consistency, add a splash of hot water or stock.

Candied Spiced Pecans

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil

1¼ cups pecan halves

3 tablespoons pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B

1. Mix together the cinnamon, cumin, cayenne, salt, and a few good grinds of pepper in a small bowl.

2. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat for 1 minute or until hot.

3. Add 1 tablespoon oil and the pecans, and cook for approximately 2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds to cook evenly.

4. Working quickly, add the spice mix to the sauté pan and stir to coat. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring once every five seconds.

5. Add the maple syrup very carefully, as it will bubble up, stirring to coat. Allow to cook 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on the pecans, and if they begin to smoke, turn down the heat a little and stir more often.

6. Remove from the heat and transfer the pecans to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

7. Working quickly, using two forks, separate the individual pecans, then allow to cool completely. Seriously. They’re going to be hot.


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