Sweet Potato-Garlic Soup With Chile Oil
This silky-smooth sweet potato soup features the deep flavor of roasted garlic and a splendid dose of garlicky, Sichuan peppercorn chile oil, which delivers heat and a tingling sensation with every spoonful. Roasting the sweet potatoes at a high temperature does a few things in this recipe: First, it develops the sweet potato’s flavors, and second, it softens the tubers, yielding a smooth texture. Serve this soup with thick slices of buttered, toasted bread to sop it up.
- Serves: 3 persons
- 1head of garlic
- 2teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 ½pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 medium), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 1teaspoon cumin seeds
- 3cups low-sodium vegetable stock
- 1teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼teaspoon ground turmeric
- Fine sea salt
- ½cup neutral oil, such as grapeseed
- 2tablespoons red-pepper flakes, such as Aleppo
- 2garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns, crushed
Step 1Heat oven to 400 degrees. Remove some of the excess paper from the head of garlic, leaving the bulb intact. Rub the bulb with 2 teaspoons oil and place it in the center of a rimmed baking sheet.
Step 2In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes, onion and cumin seeds with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Spread them in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast until the sweet potatoes are slightly caramelized and tender and the garlic has softened, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest until the vegetables are cool enough to handle, about 8 minutes.
Step 3While the vegetables roast, prepare the chile oil: In a small saucepan over medium, heat the neutral oil, taking care not to burn it. (Measure the oil’s temperature with a thermometer; it should read about 325 degrees. You could also test the temperature with a Sichuan peppercorn: It should sizzle when tossed in.)
Step 4Once the oil is hot, remove it from the heat, add the red-pepper flakes, garlic and Sichuan peppercorns. Cover with a lid and let steep for at least 20 minutes. (The oil can be prepared a day ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.)
Step 5Transfer the cooked sweet potato mixture to a blender. Squeeze the softened garlic pulp out of the cloves and add the pulp to the blender. Add 1/4 cup stock to the baking sheet and scrape off any bits that have stuck to the pan. Add the stock and bits to the blender. Add the remaining stock, the black pepper and turmeric to the blender and purée on high speed until smooth and creamy. Taste and add salt as needed. Transfer the soup to a medium saucepan and rewarm over low as needed.
Step 6Divide the soup among bowls. Give the chile oil a stir and drizzle the soup with a generous tablespoon or two. Serve immediately.