Cheesy sweet potato soup with garlic & pesto bread
By Vanessa Gianfrancesco
Warm your bones on a cold winter day with this hearty soup!
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 pounds sweet potatoes or 3 large ones, peeled and cubed
6-8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cooking cream
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1/4 cup for garnishing)
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup chives, finely chopped
1/2 cup natural Greek yogurt
For the garlic & pesto bread:
1 head of garlic
2 cups fresh basil
1 cup fresh parsley
1 cup kale, chopped
1 cup almonds
2 cups parmigiano reggiano, coarsely grated (1/2 cup for the pesto, 1 ½ cups to top the sliced bread with)
The juice of 1 lemon
1 cup olive oil (extra 2 tablespoons to drizzle the garlic)
Salt and pepper to taste
6 slices of good quality bread, or 1 french baguette
In a large sized dutch oven, heat your olive oil on medium high heat. Add in the onions and the celery. Cook for about six to eight minutes or until they have softened. Add in the garlic and the sweet potatoes. Cook for an additional seven minutes.
Cover the vegetables with the stock and allow it to come to a simmer. Reduce the heat and let it cook for about 40-45 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender.
Cool the soup, using a hand blender; blend the soup until it is creamy in texture.
Return the pot to the heat, add in the cream and the cheese and mix together until the cheese has completely melted. At this point add salt and pepper to taste.
Plate the soup, then top it just like a baked potato with items like bacon, chives, Greek yogurt or sour cream and some extra shredded cheese.
For the cheesy garlic & pesto bread:
Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the top of the garlic head. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Wrap the head of garlic in aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the cloves are soft and creamy.
In a food processor, add basil, parsley, kale, almonds, parmigiano reggiano and lemon juice. Squeeze in the head of roasted garlic. Pulse the mixture and stream in olive oil. Mix until it becomes a paste like texture.
On a baking sheet arrange the sliced bread or French baguette. Generously spread the pesto over it and top with remaining parmigiano. Bake in the oven for seven to ten minutes until the cheese is melted.
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