I hate the end of summer. I can’t deal with it getting darker earlier and the notion that soon, it will be cold and rainy and I’ll be forced to look for indoor activities to keep an incredibly physical toddler entertained. It makes my heart sink. Having said this, I am also full of contradictions as Autumn is one of my favourite seasons. Once we get to October, as we are now, and the sun is rapidly losing its heat, the leaves start to drop and there’s a nip in the air, I accept the inevitability and have a gear change. I love Autumnal sunshine and the romantic side of me likes the notion of hearty soups, stews, and roasts on crisp cold days. Mostly I love that I can hunker down, be antisocial and there’s a new season of ingredients to play around with.
Now, nothing says autumn like a hearty soup. This soup is incredibly Autumnal (count how many times I can get that word into this blog post) both in colour and in soul. Archie adores it and it’s a great way to use up any sweet potatoes you may have sitting around – I always buy bags of them and have a few knocking about it seems. This is based on a Delia Smith recipe I found in an old cookbook the veggie owns (probably the only one he does), I’ve tweaked it a bit adding some tarragon and replacing the butternut squash with sweet potato. This is really hearty and it’s always a hit. The grilled sweet corn kernels on top are a touch of joy but not wise for small babies. If you’re concerned about it being a bit sweet, a dollop of crème fraiche on top cuts through it nicely.
2 Tablespoons of rapeseed oil
1 White onion diced
1 Garlic clove crushed
2 Large sweet potatoes chopped into smallish chunks
325g Tin of sweet corn (no added sugar or salt)
A sprig of fresh tarragon
1 ¼ pint of low salt vegetable bouillon
200ml Full fat milk
Tablespoon of butter (I use Lurpack)
1. In a large saucepan fry the onion and the garlic over a medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes
2. Drain the sweet corn, rinse then set a couple of tablespoons aside and add the rest to the pan alongside the sweet potato and stir well. Put the lid on top of the pan and let the veg sweat over a low heat for ten minutes
3. Add the stock, the milk and tarragon and stir well. Place the lid half way over the pan (this will stop the milk boiling up) and simmer for thirty minutes or until the potato is soft
4. Whilst the soup is cooking, turn your grill on high, put the oven shelf about a rung down from the top and let it heat up. Put the two tablespoons of sweet corn in a small oven-proof dish along with a tablespoon of butter and put under the grill until brown on both sides. Watch closely as it cooks, you want it brown but not overly burnt. Make sure you turn it over once to get an even cook. Set aside when done
5. When the potatoes are soft, take off the heat and let cool for a moment before you blitz it. I use a handheld blender (THIS ONE IS AMAZING) but you can use a food processor if you have one. I tend not to over blend and instead keep a little bit of texture but you can make it smooth if you fancy. Once blended put back on the heat and season to your liking – I tend to just add a crack of pepper as I’m giving it to a two year old but you may want to add salt if it's for grown-up paletes.
6. Serve with a sprinkling of grilled corn on top and if you’re feeling fancy maybe some sour cream or crème fraiche as well
I make a batch of this and freeze loads in ice trays to last Archie for the month.