October 15, 2012 by Flora Dawn
Sweet Potato Soup with Pancetta & Croutons Directions:
Although we love the meaty flavor of pancetta, you could use bacon if you prefer.
- Place sweet potatoes and carrots in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and heat over medium-high heat until boiling; reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20-25 minutes. Drain and mash with a potato masher or a hand mixer, adding a few tablespoons of milk or water, and butter if desired, to get a mashed potato-like consistency.
- Heat a large saucepan or stock pot to medium-high. Add the chopped pancetta and cook, stirring often, until browned and crispy. Remove pancetta with slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Leave dripping in pan.
- Add the shallots to the dripping and cook over low until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the mashed vegetables and broth and continue to cook over low heat until flavors have blended, about 10 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired. To get a smooth consistency, have an adult help blend with an immersion blender, or if you have a heat-safe blender, pour soup carefully in blender and blend on high until smooth, about 30 seconds.
- To make Croutons: Preheat oven to 350. Place the olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Add bread cubes and toss with hands to evenly coat bread with oil. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and any desired herbs (we like garlic powder or Italian Seasoning). Place in preheated oven and bake for 5-7 minutes; stir or shake pan and return to oven until toasted and lightly browned, about 5 more minutes. Allow to cool.
- To serve soup, ladle into individual bowls and top with several croutons and a tablespoon or so of fried pancetta.
Sweet Potato Soup is a flavorful and healthful meal, perfect for fall. And perfect for a Kids Cook Monday meal, since it’s easy to prepare as well. I had my teenage daughter help, and even though my family wasn’t initially excited, we all agreed the end result was a delicious soup that we should make again.
I wanted to come up with a delicious version, minus the cream. With fried pancetta and homemade croutons, I don’t think you’ll even miss the cream; I know we didn’t.
Homemade croutons are super simple and fast to make in a preheated oven. All you need is some bread (stale is even better), butter or oil, and some seasoning. Just a few minutes in the oven and they are done. It really is that easy.
I do prefer this soup smooth, so an immersion blender or a heat-resistant stand blender is really handy.
For more great meal ideas for cooking with your kids, please visit the Kids Cook Monday.