This soup recipe was developed for a Thanksgiving cooking class when warming flavors and seasonal produce were top of mind. The ingredients are humble and inexpensive, but the result is elegant and exotic-tasting. Lucky for us, purple sweet potatoes were available which gave an unexpected magenta hue to our first course. Together with spicy, fresh ginger and creamy coconut milk, this soup would be perfect for any cold-weather holiday or on a day when you want to warm up from the inside out. Easy-to-make candied pepitas were the perfect crunchy topping to add texture to this soup, and the extras for snacking didn't hurt either!
Curried Sweet Potato-Apple Soup with Candied Pepitas
2 tablespoons coconut oil (use unrefined for a subtle coconut taste)
1 medium onion, chopped, about 1 cup
3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 (3-inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated, about 1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons curry powder (sweet or hot)
4 pounds sweet potatoes (orange or purple), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces, about 5 heaping cups
2 large apples, peeled and cubed, about 2 healing cups
4 cups vegetable broth
1 (15.5 ounce) can of coconut milk
Unsweetened non-dairy yogurt, to serve (optional)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup raw pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
To make the soup, melt the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute or two. Stir in the curry powder so that everything is coated and the curry is fragrant. Add the broth, coconut milk, squash, and apples. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer over moderately low heat until the squash is tender, about 25 minutes. Use an immersion blender to purée or work in batches to carefully transfer soup to a blender and purée.
To make the candied pepitas, preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. In a small pot, combine syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Heat over medium heat while stirring until brown sugar is melted and mixture starts to thicken and appear foamy. Stir in pepitas. Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on the prepared baking tray. Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
To serve, ladle soup into bowls, top with a dollop of the yogurt, and sprinkle with candied pepitas.