Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup with Thai Pesto

by Lynne on October 20, 2010

Post image for Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup with Thai Pesto

Right around this time of year I start trying to figure out what I am going to serve for our Thanksgiving Day feast. As I explained in my post about Thanksgiving 2009, my guests include a bunch of vegetarians, so this is a big challenge for me. So I thought I would take that old holiday standby, sweet potatoes, and make something different with them this year. Not that I don’t cherish my memories of those canned, sticky, sweet, orange chunks baked with brown sugar and miniature marshmallows. I do. My Mom made them every year throughout my whole childhood. They sat right next to the Green Bean, Cream of Mushroom and Fried Onion casserole. But I think I’m going to go the whole Southeast Asian route this time. Sorry Mom.

This is a great starter with the pureed sweet potato and coconut milk soup flavored with red curry paste and topped with a dollop of Thai pesto, which is chunky with peanuts and minced basil, cilantro and mint. I love this pesto because it is flavored with palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice, the quintessential triumvirate of Thai cuisine. Plus grated ginger, green chile and garlic. Oh man. When the pesto is swirled into the orange soup, the melded taste is just sublime. Ok, I talked myself into it. This is definitely going on my Holiday menu.

Sweet Potato Soup with Thai Pesto 2

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Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup with Thai Pesto

Serves 6

Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 pound sweet potatoes (3 ea), peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces, 5 ½ -6 cups
1 red onion, chopped, about 3 cups
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, low sodium
1 can (13.5 fl.oz) coconut milk, about 2 cups

Thai Pesto
2/3 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger with the juice
2 long green Thai chiles, seeded and chopped (I used fresh cayenne chiles)
1 small bunch fresh cilantro leaves (about 1 packed cup), stems discarded
1 large handful of fresh mint leaves
1 large handful of fresh basil leaves (rough chop)
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce or Thai fish sauce (to taste)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (2 limes)
1 tablespoon brown sugar or palm sugar

1. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven. Add the sweet potatoes and onion. Partially cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often, until soft and just starting to turn golden.

2. Increase the heat to high, add the curry paste and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes so the paste cooks and becomes fragrant. Add the broth and coconut milk and bring to a boil, stirring to incorporate the curry paste into the liquid.

3. Transfer the mixture to a food processor with the feed tube open (so steam can escape) and  whizz until almost smooth. There will still be some small chunks. I did it in two batches. Return the soup to a clean saucepan.

4. To make the pesto, put all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and whizz, occasionally scraping down the sides of bowl, until you have a chunky paste and the ingredients are all evenly chopped.

5. Gently reheat the soup, ladle into warmed serving bowls and top with a generous spoonful of Thai pesto, which is to be swirled into the soup. Serve with additional Pesto on the side.

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{ 2 trackbacks }

sweet potato coconut soup + thai pesto | Top of the Apple
November 6, 2011 at 5:07 am
Top of the Apple Holiday Recipe: Sweet Potato Coconut Soup + Thai Pesto
November 6, 2011 at 8:48 am

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Nuts about food October 20, 2010 at 5:04 am

Oh my gosh, I am in love. Really. I love every single ingredient in this soup. I have to try this.

Michael / South Bay Foodies October 20, 2010 at 11:08 am

was just making plans to go to lunch at Thai Dishes on Sepulveda. After reading about your lovely soup and pesto, I have the feeling I will be disappointed no matter what I order. Ha!

Joanne October 20, 2010 at 6:29 pm

This is EXACTLY the kind of meal that I would LOVE to have on Thanksgiving. However, seeing as how my parents have never had thai food and are morally against trying new things EVER. It would just not fly.

I’ll just have to fly to your place for Thanksgiving. Because after seeing this I’m not going to be able to settle for sticky sweet potatoes covered in marshmallows.

Thanks so much for your sweet comment on my blog. The whole PFB thing made me realize (a) that I have the best readers in the world and (b) I care much more what you guys think than some random judge who has read my blog maybe once in her life. C’est la vie. The whole thing was getting kind of stressful anyway.

polwig October 20, 2010 at 7:09 pm

I love this soup… this is what is great about Thanksgiving (at least for me) there are not strict foods you need to serve… however, I love green bean casserole and it is probably the only thing I have to have. No cream of mushroom soup however, I think your mom will like everything you serve.

Cate October 20, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Wow…this looks amazing! All my favorite flavors…and I LOVE the idea of a completely SE Asian flavors holiday!

redmenace October 20, 2010 at 7:27 pm

This is a new combination for me, but it is truly brilliant. I think I’d love it. Thank you for the inspiration. And, the pesto? Wonderful addition!

Nancy@acommunaltable October 20, 2010 at 7:48 pm

Lynne – this truly looks divine and I think it will be the hit of your Thanksgiving spread!! What a wonderful combination of flavors and textures!!!
Beautiful photo too – I love the color of the bowl and how the soup picks up the color!!

Vivienne October 21, 2010 at 3:31 am

i am really loving your photos and your recipes. thai pesto sounds intriguing…i like your southeast asian approach to thanksgiving lol.

UrMomCooks October 21, 2010 at 5:24 am

Luv the idea of this soup! I am swamped with sweet potatoes right now and the beauty of this soup is that it still has one foot in the summer with the pesto topper! Great recipe!

Tricia S. October 21, 2010 at 8:31 am

Awesome!! I have both sweet potato and coconut milk lying around that I need to use!!

Monet October 21, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Whoever is coming over to your house for Thanksgiving is very lucky! This is such an innovative dish. I love how you took a quintessential fall vegetable (sweet potato) and infused it with Asian flavors. Just perfect. Thank you for sharing!

Grapefruit October 22, 2010 at 2:37 am

Oh my, that Thai Pesto is right up my alley. . I think I would love everything about this soup & it makes me want to be a guest at your dinner table!

naomi October 22, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Okay, Lynne, you talked me into it-not really. Thai Pesto-Um, yeah, I love it.

The soup sounds awesome, but I’m so intrigued with the Thai Pesto. I can’t wait to try the whole thing.

Kim at Rustic Garden Bistro October 23, 2010 at 9:24 am

Lynne, you had me at coconut. How on earth do you come up with these beautiful flavor combinations?! Growing up in a first-generation Vietnamese family, every Thanksgiving had a “Southeast Asian” twist. I’m not sure I had a “real” turkey until I spent a Thanksgiving with my boyfriend’s parents during college.

Beautiful.

[K]

Adair @ Lentil Breakdown October 23, 2010 at 10:38 am

Hoo-boy, you talked me into it too! Too bad I’ll be having that shun-worthy Durkee green bean casserole with relatives in Texas. It’s considered heresy to even suggest otherwise. Now if I could only be in two places at once…

cristy October 24, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Made this tonight and it absolutely blew me away!The pesto makes the whole soup – what a wonderful little concoction. I added chunks of roasted sweet potato and had it as an entree. One of the best soups I’ve ever had – honestly. Thank you!

Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks October 27, 2010 at 8:24 pm

I also grow tired of the standard Thanksgiving feast. I would love to be served something so flavorful this holiday. I will be making both of these for one of our soup nights. I also make a sweet potato/coconut Jamaican curry last fall that you might like.

Lana March 15, 2011 at 2:01 pm

I made this soup yesterday and we are in love! It is beautifully balanced and really…perfect! Thanks so much!

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