Monday, March 9, 2009

Sweet Potato Soup with Maple Syrup and Maple Sage Cream…and a Giveaway

Sweet Potato Soup with Maple Syrup and Maple Sage CreamThis week I'm focusing on maple syrup. Its sweet, earthy taste cannot be replaced with Aunt Jemima or corn syrup or Lyle's. It's unique. The sap that comes out of the maple tree is clear, tasteless, but after hours and hours of boiling, it gets that distinct golden color and maple flavor. According to this article, the sap that's gathered must be boiled the same day since it deteriorates quickly. This is yet another reason why it's so special.

Back in October, I wrote about my Pumpkin Chai Tart and mentioned the Maple Sugar I used in the recipe. Alain from Brien Fine Maple Products contacted me to find out where I had purchased their maple sugar (Farm Boy in Ottawa). In February, he sent along some maple sugar products for me to try. These products are made about 1½ hours outside of Montreal (only 3½ hours from Ottawa) in Sainte-anne-de-la-rochelle, Quebec in a mondernized cabane à sucre (sugar shack). Since the package arrived, I've emptied the maple syrup, devoured the maple candies and played around with the other ingredients (more posts to come).

Maple Products from Brien Fine Maple ProductsLast week, I asked the foodies on Twitter for some of their favorite recipes that use maple syrup. I received several links to recipes and have made some of them. The first recipe was this sweet potato soup sent to me by @AuthenticCoast.

This soup recipe comes from Executive Chef Shaun Zwarun of DesBarres Manor Inn, an 1837 luxury historic inn in the seacoast village of Guysborough, Nova Scotia. DesBarres Manor Inn was the Winner of the 2008 Nova Scotia Cuisine of the Year Award where Chef Zwarun uses local and fresh ingredients in his kitchen. You can find more of his recipes here or on Natalie MacLean's website by searching for "DesBarres".

Giveaway
This week, I'm giving away a 65 gram jar of Maple Sugar from Brien Fine Maple Products.

Maple SugarTo enter to win, all you need to do is comment on the blog posts this week that are about maple syrup. This means that you can enter more than once. At the end of the week, I’ll randomly select a winner from all the comments that have been submitted on this week's posts about maple syrup. I will email the winner (so make sure you leave your email in the comment).

Recipe

Recipe for soup from DesBarres Manor in Nova Scotia

Recipe for maple sage cream from Inn on the Twenty cookbookIngredients for Sweet Potato Soup with Maple Syrup and Maple Sage Cream

Serves 8

For the Soup:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
½ cup celery, chopped
½ cup yellow onion, chopped
4 cups chicken stock
2 pounds sweet potato, peeled and chopped
4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons brandy or cognac
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chives, chopped, for garnish

For the Maple Sage Cream:
½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh sage, finely chopped

In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook the garlic, celery, and onion until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the stock and sweet potatoes and bring the liquid to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 1 hour. Purée the soup using a hand blender or food processor. Add the maple syrup, nutmeg, cream, and brandy or cognac. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the maple sage cream, whip cream until soft peaks form. Fold in maple syrup and sage. Spoon onto soup before serving and sprinkle with chopped chives.

Tasting Notes
Due to the blend of maple syrup, cognac and nutmeg, the soup has a complex flavor. The sweetness from the maple syrup and sweet potatoes combines with the herbal overtones from the cognac and the hint of spice from the nutmeg. The maple sage cream is so delicious that you'll want more soup just to have more cream.

Other Sweet Potato Soups
• Elise from Simply Recipes: Creamy Sweet Potato Soup
• New York Times: Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Soup
• What's Cooking: Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

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  • 37 comments:

    Maria said...

    The soup looks incredible. I love sweet potatoes. Great way to kick off maple syrup week. I will be back:)

    Lo said...

    Maple is such a nice combo for sweet potatoes. I don't like my potatoes TOO sweet, but maple gives nice flavor without being overwhelming.

    Michelle said...

    The maple sage cream sound amazing and a must try! I'd love to have some of the maple sugar..never heard of it before but I need some now.

    TKTC said...

    Maple sugar candy as well?! Quite an amazing care package my dear! Soup's on at my house...just added it to the menu plan and will be making it on Wednesday!

    SugarPunk said...

    That sounds amazing. I wonder if coconut cream would throw the flavor off too much as a substitution? (can't do dairy, at this point, nor soy).

    Hannah said...

    No way! I was just bemoaning how I couldn't find any maple sugar locally, and it was so freaking expensive... Oh, how I would love to experiment with it. I wouldn't have thought of a maple/sweet potato soup though- But what a killer combination!

    Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

    I am a maple addict. It is one of my most favorite flavors on earth! Can't wait to see more recipes!

    Cathy said...

    This soup looks divine. Shockingly, I've never had sweet potato soup; how did that happen? This will be the recipe to end that unfortunate streak. Perfect way to showcase that lovely maple syrup!

    Melissa said...

    I haven't ever had sweet potato soup, but it sounds fabulous! Your photos are amazing!

    Kayte said...

    Wow...this soup looks amazingly good...and the flavors from the tasting notes make it sound even more so! Love the photos...such fun to come here and learn new things each week.

    Pam said...

    I really like the sound of the maple sage cream. I wonder what else it would be good on??

    Monica H said...

    I absolutely love sweet potatoes and I think maple syrup accompanies them wonderfully.

    I love the little piece of saging peeking out from under the bowl in the first picture- lovely.

    CookiePie said...

    That soup sounds fantastic -- I love maple syrup!!! I can't understand how anyone can use the fake stuff, it just doesn't compare!

    pinkstripes said...

    Sweet potato soup with maple sounds delicious. So does the cream. I've been on a maple kick lately. It's so delicious.

    Carrie said...

    Shari, you got my attention at maple and sage but the clincher was the photo of that soup, it looks delicious. carrie [at] oliverranch [dot] com

    squirrelbread said...

    A fellow maple addict. I salute you!

    Cheers,

    *Heather*

    Jules Someone said...

    I love love love anything maple. I have to make this soup.

    Audrey said...

    I would have commented on this even if you didn't have a giveaway (really, I mean it, I'm sincere!) I have a maple cookie recipe that calls for maple sugar, so I'm intrigued by what else you can do with it. And I love sweet potatoes, so a sweet potato soup sounds heavenly!

    Leslie said...

    mmm, there is nothing better than real maple syrup

    Elyse said...

    I adore sweet potatoes, especially in soup form. Maple syrup is the perfect complement to this creamy concoction. And maple sage cream?! Wow!! I can't wait to try this!

    jahteo said...

    I'm going to make this one day. After I actually get to taste real maple syrup (or maple sugar, hehe) and find out just what all the fuss is about for myself, I'm going to make soup. Unless the sweet potatoes get eaten before I get a chance, I tend to snack on them a bit too heavily before meals are finished. But first to try maple syrup. Is it okay to decide that you like something before you ever try it? Because I think that aside from maple syrup, I'm gonna like maple sugar too.

    ro said...

    My first introduction to Maple Syrup was with my fourth grade teacher. The class went on a trip to the farm and we also learned how maple syrup was tapped and processed to be sold. We were allowed to take some back home with us. I have been in love with it ever since. Great recipe can not wait to see more!

    hardyR_01@msn.com

    Kimi said...

    Your soup looks divine, and I agree, nothing replaces good maple syrup!

    Randi Lynne said...

    This soup looks amazing. I have a love for maple syrup and sweet potatoes. Can't wait to try it!

    Audrey said...

    Shari, I just wanted to come back and tell you there's a gorgeous yeast bread made with maple syrup AND maple sugar on the King Arthur Flour blog...just in case you have any left over...:)
    Audrey

    http://blog.kingarthurflour.com/

    Authentic Seacoast said...

    Thanks for sharing our sweet potato and maple syrup soup recipe from DesBarres Manor Inn. We love the maple sage cream touch to finish. We’re going to try that next time we prepare this recipe!

    Anonymous said...

    I was searching for what to make for dinner to night and conveniently have most of these ingredients on hand! looks like it will be tasty. thanks

    rbnelson2@wisc.edu

    Lillian said...

    I don't like sweet potatoes, but I love maple syrup! And I'd love to win some maple sugar -- it's the best.

    chojik said...

    Love your photos! I had a delicious sweet potato soup recently and this looks exactly like it! I'm also inspired to go visit my nearest sugar shack now :)

    Allison said...

    I would have never thought to use maple syrup in a soup, but this sounds delicious!

    Grace said...

    good for you for bringing attention to the small miracle that is maple syrup. :)

    hungry crasian said...

    i love maple syrup, i could bathe in it and drink it all up, yummy

    Ophelia said...

    oh my goodness this looks delicious. sweet potatoe bisque has been one of my ultimate comfort soups since i was a little girl. also, fun cooking giveaway. yay!

    herophelia@yahoo.com

    Sticks in the Mud said...

    I just found your blog and I am soooo excited to try this recipe! Maple anything rocks.

    Sunei said...

    Made this soup today, following your recipe exactly and the results were amazing. The four people who ate it gave it top marks. It has an interesting, delicate flavour. We will definitely be making it often. Thank you!!

    Fat food guy said...

    Thank you very much for the recipes, when I landed on your page I felt like eating the photo of the pepper maple chicken. And now i'm going to go and try to cook it. Thanks again!----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Sophie said...

    Wow, what a sweet soup!
    Looks great! Yum!