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Sweet Potato, Green Garlic and Cashew Bisque

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw whole cashew pieces
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 7 bulbs and tender parts of green garlic , finely chopped (see note)
  • 2 carrots , cut in ¼-inch dice
  • 1 stalk celery , cut in ¼-inch dice
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 5 to 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf (see note)
  • 2 large garnet sweet potatoes , peeled and cut in ¾-inch chunks (see note)
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • Minced chives
  • Chive blossom petals , optional

Instructions

  • Make the Cashew Cream:
  • Rinse 2 cups of whole raw cashews in cold water several times. Put them in a bowl and cover with cold water. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight, ( or longer if you have a regular blender.)
  • Drain the cashews and rinse again. Place in a high-speed blender with enough fresh cold water to cover them by 1 inch. Blend on high speed for several minutes, until very smooth. Strain if the cream is not completely smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Make the bisque:
  • In a soup pot, over medium flame, heat the oil briefly. Before it gets too hot, stir in the minced garlic. Cook and stir a minute or so, then add the diced carrots and celery. Cook and stir 5 to 8 minutes, until the carrots and celery have softened.
  • Add the paprika, stirring it in until the vegetables are well coated. Add 5 cups of the vegetable broth, the bay leaf and the diced yams.
  • Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the yams are very tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Puree with an immersion blender. Or, working in batches, pour the soup onto a blender and blend until smooth. (Beware, hot soup tries to burst the blender lid off, creating a huge kitchen counter mess and potential personal burns.)
  • With the pureed soup in the pot, stir in the cashew cream. If you prefer a thinner soup, stir in the last cup of vegetable broth. Heat through.
  • Season with lemon juice, cayenne, and salt, if needed.
  • Ladle into bowls and garnish with the green chives and chive blossoms, if using..

Notes

  • Cashew cream can be made up to one week ahead. That way it will be ready when you are.
  • Green garlic is young spring garlic before the bulbs separates into cloves. You can also use garlic scapes, about ¼ cup diced, or fully developed garlic, one or 2 cloves at the most.
  • Choose sweet potatoes with the darkest copper orange skin. Those are the ones with the brightest flesh.
  • Be sure to remove the bay leaf. I once pureed a soup with the bay leaf in it and I had to strain 8 quarts of thick soup through a fine-mesh sieve to get rid of the unpleasant texture. Dinner took more time than I had planned before it was ready to serve!