This is one of my favourite autumn soups, sweet from the potatoes and bay leaf, pungent from the ginger, fruity from the orange juice, prepared as a smooth and velvety cream that contrasts with crunchy fried sweet potatoes and some chilli flakes that are added at the last minute. The orange juice and the bay leaf in the soup give it a special fruity sweet flavour that make all your senses run wild! —Maria Teresa Jorge
white sweet potato
orange sweet potato
medium red onions
big leek, only white part
garlics, green part removed
orange juice freshly squeezed (choose sweet oranges)
In a pan over medium heat, put the milk and bay leaf and let simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside and let infuse. Wash and dry the cilantro leaves, chop and set aside.
Warm up your vegetable stock and keep it on a low simmer.
Peel and wash the sweet potatoes. If you prefer you can use only orange or only white sweet potatoes, you choose. From the orange sweet potato cut 3/4 cup of straw thin potatoes with a lemon zester. Put them in a bowl with cold water and set aside. Cut the remaining potatoes in small cubes, wash and put in a bowl with cold water.
Chop the onions and crush the garlics removing the green part from the inside. Cut the bottom of the leek with the roots, remove the outer leaf plus the dark green part of the top. On a chopping board, slice the leek down the middle and then slice in 1/2 inch pieces. Put in a bowl under running cold water and wash thoroughly to remove any sand attached. Drain and set aside. Peel the ginger and cut it up in pieces.
In a large enough pot, over medium heat, melt the butter cut up in pieces. As soon as it starts to sizzle add the onions, leeks and garlic, and stir until the onion is translucent. Watch the heat so it doesn't burn any of the vegetables as it will make the soup taste bitter. Add the drained potatoes cut up in cubes, stir all the vegetables together for 2 minutes. Add the milk infused with the bay leaf and enough vegetable stock to cover the vegetables. Keep the remaining vegetable stock warm.
Cover the pot and simmer over low heat about 25 minutes until the potatoes are cooked. Add salt, freshly ground black pepper and the nutmeg.
Discard the bay leaves and put the soup in a food processor or use a hand held immersion blender and blend very well until creamy. Add the orange juice and blend again. If the soup is too thick add some more vegetable stock. If it's too thin let it simmer over low heat, without lid, until you obtain the right consistency.
Strain the soup over a clean pot, through a medium mesh sieve, pressing with the back of a ladle. Discard all the fibrous parts that remain mainly from the ginger and the leek.
Check the seasoning. Set aside and keep warm.
In a medium pan bring te canola oil to a boil. Pat dry the finely shredded orange sweet potato in a clean tea towel and fry until just barely golden. Drain on kitchen paper towel. Keep warm.
Heat up the soup, pour in plates, sprinkle some cilantro, add in the middle of the plate the fried sweet potatoes, sprinkle with Maldon salt and chilli flakes, add a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and serve immediately.