I was happily planning for the holidays, and was even ahead of schedule, which is quite the accomplishment for me, personally. I had all of my projects planned for the next two months, I had the house unpacked and put away, the decorations were on their way up and lists were made for both Santa and groceries among other things. Even my house was surprisingly tidy which in retrospect was a telling sign of the chaos soon to arrive, much like the calm before a storm. Yes, my little ducks were all in a row; And then, quite frankly, it all fell to pieces.
I suppose it is my fault for trying to avoid disaster. Knowing that I am empirically prone to disaster, I should really just have tempted fate by procrastinating, avoiding deadlines and perhaps stuffing a turkey while balancing fine china on my head. Now, that just might deserve catastrophe, at the very least. Nobody would be surprised if catastrophe plagued someone who was asking for it. I won’t go into all the details
(especially about the cold, the flu, and the busted autofocus on my brand new-to-me / used canon slr camera. I’m pretty sure I literally shook my fists, which is kind of ridiculously hilarious, but beside the point of interest of this post) .
I will however, breathe and eat this delicious soup and remember that becoming hysterical in a moment of chaos often solves little. Keeping a point and shoot in your back pocket at all times, however, occasionally serves a purpose. Sure, it’s not as sharp of an image and it is in no way as perfect as I would have liked it to be. But, it served its purpose and now I move on to fixing the bigger issues. Staying calm is always better than escalating the pandemonium that often infests my day; a point that is easily lost at times during the holiday season. Note to self: remember to keep calm. That pesky hysterical pandemonium must be vanquished, and this warm, comforting yet fairly light soup is the perfect way to re-center my internal auto focus and maybe not sweat the small stuff so much. I have food, fun and family and for that I am eternally grateful.
Sweet potato Wonton Soup
- 3 large sweet potatoes
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- a few fresh sage leaves
- a pinch of nutmeg and allspice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- One package of wonton wrappers (48 wrappers)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Vegetable Soup Mix: chopped celery, carrot, onion, cabbage and mushroom (may vary to taste)
- One cup of dry white wine
- 4 quarts (one gallon) homemade or store bought vegetable stock
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the ends off of the potatoes, dividing 4 tablespoons of butter among them and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake in preheated oven until they are tender and soft (1-2 hours depending on size of potatoes). Unwrap cooked potatoes and cut a slit lengthwise in the skin of each. Pull the skin away from the potato and discard. Push the potatoes through a potato ricer while they are hot and place in glass bowl. Place 4 tablespoons of butter into skillet on medium heat and add sage leaves. Simmer butter and sage until brown bits fall to bottom of mixture. Remove sage leaves and fold into the riced potatoes. Add nutmeg, allspice, salt pepper, chipotle adobo sauce and sour cream and fold in until evenly distributed. Taste and add additional salt and pepper to taste. Wrap sweet potato filling once cooled in wonton wrappers and refrigerate wontons in a single layer on parchment-lined sheet pans until ready to use.
In a large pot over medium heat, add olive oil. When oil ripples and barely starts to smoke, drop in the vegetable mix. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss the mix around on bottom of pot until gently browned on all sides (cooking time will vary depending on how many vegetables are added and what thickness they’re chopped). Once browned and slightly sticking to bottom of pot, add wine. Simmer and stir for a minute, pulling up any brown bits from bottom of pan. Add in stock and bring to a boil until vegetables are tender. Once soup is boiling and vegetables are tender, add in refrigerated wontons and boil for 2-3 minutes, until tender. Serve. Enjoy.
Dish inspired by and slightly adapted from Thomas Keller’s Sweet Potato Agnolotti with Sage Cream, Brown Butter and Prosciutto, from The French Laundry. Note: If you would like to use leftover roasted root vegetables or mashed sweet potatoes, that would also work well, so long as they are savory and not too sweet.