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Pureed soup advice please

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I am more an experimental cook at home than a follower of recipes. So I am asking for some advice please.

I am making a soup from available veggies that I haven't combined before. I will puree them and finish with pepita parmesan cisps on top.

ingredients: Sweet Potato, Carrots, Leaks, Onion, Celery, Garlic, Cream?, Butter?, excellent chicken stock.

My questions are:
1) advice on ratios?
2) which veggies should sweat first before adding liquid?
3) would fresh tarragon be a complimentary herb to add style?
4) is there a better herb or seasoning to use? We want to preserve the veg flavour as much as possible so no cumin or curries or strong ginger flavours please.
5) is there anything important, or potentially exciting missing?

Dinner will be choice of seared duck or fig stuffed chicken.
Warm Soba noodles - spicy
cherry nut bread stuffing - earthy, sweet
grilled asparagus - tangy
roasted tomatoes

grateful for any help.

thanks!

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  1. Start by sweating the onions, leeks and garlic in butter. (I would personally omit the celery because the fibrousness might not be easy to puree when you blend the soup.) Add the peeled diced sweet potatoes and carrots and saute for just a few minutes. Then add the chicken stock and simmer until everything is quite soft. Puree soup, then add cream if you think it needs it. The sweet potatoes might just be rich enough without the cream.

    I wouldn't use tarragon, but might consider something "warmer" like cumin or some canned chipotles. Or you could opt for a hit of citrus - orange or lemon instead. Or you might just want to stay with a comforting theme and leave the seasoning very basic - salt and pepper.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Nyleve

      I second the citrus - orange would be lovely, just not overdone. I also think a hint of thyme might be nice; again, very subtle. Still, the thyme might not mesh well with the spicy soba noodles. And don't underestimate what a little fresh ginger could do - again, the key word is subtle - especially with your menu. Tossing in a coin or two of ginger root while you're sweating the onions, leeks and garlic, and then removing the slices before the next step should give a nice new level of flavor without screaming Ginger!

      1. re: Nyleve

        I sometimes like to add orange marmalade to this kind of soup.

        Also prefer yogurt or buttermilk to cream for creaminess, adds a little more flavor.

        1. I think that the celery will definitly add some stringyness to the soup so you may want to leave the ribs whole and then fish them out (with the bay leaves ) before you puree. I would roast the sweet pot. and carrot in the oven. It would give you a better flavor overall, a little more sweetness. Parsley at the end is a must and while cumin can be over powering, when combined with something like cinnamon and that orange someone suggested it might be the perfect flavor for what you are planning. Be careful with the pepitas. Sometimes they can be so chewy that they might ruin the smoothness of the soup.

          1. I made a soup with simililar ingredients (not celery) but added a cup of smooth peanut butter, tsp. grated fresh ginger and 1 1/2 C tomato juice. It's called West African Peanut Soup from "Sunday's at Moosewood". Serve with chopped peanuts and scallions as a garnish.

            1. i'd rough chop and roast the carrots, sweet potato, leeks and garlic in the oven first. let them get golden -- it makes them very sweet. i just toss toss them with olive oil and salt and pepper. you can toss them in orange or pineapple juice prior to roasting if you like a sweeter soup. i also prefer leeks to onions, so would omit the latter, as well as the celery. at 450, they take about 30 minutes or so.

              start warming the stock while the veggies cook. add them to the stock and cook about 15 minutes or so. when it's about finished i'd toss in either some cilantro or fresh parsley. let the soup cool before you puree it. use the cooked broth as your liquid to puree.

              when you reheat, add some orange zest and freshly squeezed juice.

              i just made this, and with no butter or dairy, it was incredibly clean, delicious and fresh tasting. sounds like your dinner will be on the richer side, so start clean.

              i garnished it with popcorn!

              1. thanks everybody!

                appreciate the great ideas. we decided to keep the celery and add the orange zest (i never would have thought of that). I switched to a mushroom based stock and stayed away from dairy and tarragon. After pureeing it we strained it to remove the celery veins etc. it was very smooth and very delicous. For garnish i heated a stainless steel pan, threw in the pepitas til wet, then added a few handfuls of freshly grated parmagena reggiano that was mixed with a dash of flour and black pepper. Melted it til golden and then broke it down after it cooled. it was referred to as cheese candy.