Some like it hotter: Spicy sweet potato soup with lardons
Piment d’espelette is the poshest chilli on the planet, akin to cayenne but with a long sultry finish to it. Protected in origin, it can be sourced on Amazon and the excellent French online supermarket frenchclick.co.uk.
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
a pinch of piment d’espelette (or dried chilli flakes)
800g orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
500g tomatoes, coarsely chopped
900ml vegetable stock
170g smoked or unsmoked lardons
30g pumpkin seeds
a pinch of piment d’espelette (or cayenne pepper)
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion and fry for a few minutes until relaxed and glossy, stirring occasionally, then add the garlic, cumin and piment d’espelette (or chilli flakes) and fry for a minute longer. Add the sweet potato and continue to cook for another couple of minutes, stirring frequently, then stir in the tomatoes.
- Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes, by which time the potato should be meltingly tender. Purée the soup in batches in a blender, seasoning it to taste with salt.
- Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick frying pan over a medium heat and fry the lardons for 7-8 minutes until golden, stirring frequently and adding the pumpkin seeds a minute before the end. Season with piment d’espelette (or cayenne) and drain on a double layer of kitchen paper.
- Serve the soup with the lardons and pumpkin seeds scattered over.