Sweet Potato Pumpkin Soup with Ham and Cheddar

Sweet Potato Pumpkin Soup with Ham & CheddarImagine a midwinter afternoon. Snowflakes the size of half dollars fall silently outside the window. Flames snap and crackle in the wood stove. Chilly toes are plunged into woolen socks, and thick sweaters keep shivers from washing over shoulders and spines. Something thick and warm, brimming with spicy goodness, simmers on the stove. Young people are huddled over the table, working sums or memorizing The Children’s Hour,  a third grade poetry assignment. 

It really was a spectacular afternoon — though I’ve left out the typical arguments, annoyances and disturbances. I’ve chosen instead to focus on the fairytale qualities of this particularly cozy winter’s day. Sometimes a hot pot of soup on the stove makes everything special. And this recipe? I do believe it lends a bit of magic to the house. It’s a rich and creamy concoction with hints of smoke, maple, and tangy sharp cheddar. This soup is one of our favorites!

Sweet Potato Pumpkin Soup with Ham and Cheddar

Ingredients

  • 4 strips bacon browned, diced and reserved for later
  • 2 Tablespoons bacon drippings
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 32 oz. boxes unsalted chicken stock
  • 3 sweet potatoes finely chopped
  • 29- oz. can pumpkin not pie filling
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne more or less to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 8 oz. diced ham
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 8 oz. shredded Cabot sharp white cheddar cheese
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Brown bacon in a large stock pot. Set bacon aside for topping finished soup. Reserve drippings in stock pot.
  • Add onion to bacon drippings and saute until tender. Add 1 cup of chicken stock to deglaze pan.
  • Add chopped sweet potatoes to pot and saute until tender. Transfer vegetable mixture to a blender or food processor, and puree until smooth.
  • Add pumpkin, parsley and diced ham to the vegetable mixture and pulse to combine (adding more broth as necessary).
  • Return mixture to stock pot and pour in remaining chicken stock. Add maple syrup. Season with cayenne, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Simmer on low for 30 minutes. Before serving, stir in 8 oz. shredded Cabot sharp cheddar cheese. Top with crumbled bacon if desired.

Notes

This recipe will easily feed my family of five for two meals. Halve the ingredients if you don't need to feed a whole herd!

 

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1 Comment

  • comment-avatar
    Susanne January 24, 2015 (10:50 am)

    I try to eat paleo this time of year (helps with my seasonal allergies) and on occasion, I do sneak a bit of cheese in! I’m always on the lookout for a hearty soup to make on Sunday afternoons to jar up and have ready for lunches for the work week. This one certainly appears to be a contender! Now, if I only had a snowy day to go with the pot of soup!