Smoky Carrot Sweet Potato Soup

martha cinader
Toasted walnut butter melting in a bowl of smoky carrot sweet potato soup.

It has become a Mims family tradition for my husband to smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving. I love the smoky hickory flavor and use every bit of it that I can. I keep some drippings for adding to gravy. I freeze some chunks of leftovers to use in stews, and most importantly I make broth with the bones. The smoked turkey broth is the magical ingredient for flavorful soups and stews.

To make the broth I use my largest pot, and throw in the turkey bones after the carving is done. I add some garlic and onions and whatever veggies I have around that are getting a little old, more than cover it all with water and some salt, and boil everything for an hour or two on a low simmer. Then I strain it and cook it down to between three quarters to a half of what’s in the pot after straining, another hour or two. This year I put five quarts of this concentrated stock in my freezer, but I already took one of them out to make carrot soup and use up my leftover sweet potatoes.

The smoky flavor of the stock made the soup especially delicious. It had a rich creamy texture to it without using any cream at all. If you don’t have any smoky broth you could try using a liquid hickory smoke flavor. It’s pretty standard to use orange juice or some chopped apple in a carrot soup. I had some oranges around, so I juiced one. You could replace the orange juice with a chopped up apple. I also used some leftover roasted garlic. Roasting garlic is as simple as drizzling a little oil over a whole garlic with it’s top sliced off, and placing it in a covered dish in the oven at 350 degrees for about half an hour, or until it is soft and the garlic cloves are starting to burst out of the top. The walnut butter recipe came from a favorite cookbook: Williams-Sonoma Complete Seasonal Cookbook. It adds a little crunch to the texture that just made it into a perfect soup. If I may say so myself. 🙂

Ingredients for Smoky Carrot Sweet Potato Soup;

4-6 cups smoked turkey broth
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter
5 or 6 large carrots, sliced
1-2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
juice from one orange
roasted garlic, cumin powder, ginger powder, salt, pepper

Ingredients for toasted walnut butter:

a handful of chopped walnuts
six tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons oil (walnut, olive or whatever you like.)
a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper

1. Make your toasted walnut butter first. Combine the chopped walnuts with the sugar, seasoning and oil on a cookie tray, and toast in the oven at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes. Allow to cool and then combine with the butter, using a fork, and cool in the fridge while making your soup.

2. Combine the smoked turkey broth with water to make eight cups.  Start heating in a soup pot or crock pot with the mashed sweet potatoes and some roasted garlic. If you don’t have cooked sweet potatoes  or roasted garlic, you can chop up two fresh sweet potatoes and a couple cloves of garlic, and add them to the pan in the next step.

3. In a large pan combine the carrot slices, onions and butter and sauté until the carrots are tender, ten to fifteen minutes. When ready, pour the vegetables into the soup pot. Season to taste with cumin powder, ginger powder, salt and pepper. (You could also use some curry powder.)

4. I have a hand held blender that I stick right into my soup pot to blend all the ingredients into a creamy texture. If you don’t have one, you can blend small portions at a time in your food processor, or even just use a potato masher to make a chunkier version of this soup. Simmer for a little while, or keep on warm in your crock pot until ready to serve.

5. Ladle soup into bowls and add a teaspoon of your walnut butter in the center.

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