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Smoky sweet potato and apple soup

Smoky sweet potato and apple soup

Smoky flavors from bacon and pimenton add rich, savory notes to what otherwise would be a soup on the sweet the side.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 small-medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 strips of bacon (or vegetarian substitute), chopped (before cooking)
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 small tart apple (I used a Northern Spy), peeled, cored and diced
2 teaspoons pimenton (smoked paprika)
3 1/2 cups stock, chicken or vegetable
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
thyme leaves and/or crunchy croutons, for garnish

Instructions:
1. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium until shimmering. Add the sweet potatoes dices and cook for about 10 minutes, until softened and the edges have turned golden.

2. Meanwhile, place a 4-5 qt. stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat until drops of water sizzle and evaporate on contact. Add the bacon pieces and cook to render its fat. Stir in the onions and celery and saute until the bacon reaches your preferred texture (chewy or crispy). Add the apple dices and the now-cooked sweet potatoes.*

3. Sprinkle the pimenton and a pinch of salt over the vegetables and stir well to coat. Pour in the stock, and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Taste the soup for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to your liking. For a smooth result, run an immersion blender through the soup to break up the bigger chunks (the apples and potatoes will be soft and easily mashed). (Or, working in batches, use a regular blender. Return the soup to the pot after blending.)

5. Turn the heat to low and stir in the coconut milk and lemon juice.

6. Ladle into serving bowls and top each thyme leaves and/or croutons.

*Note: cooking the sweet potatoes and the bacon at the same time in separate vessels saves you about 10 minutes of overall cooking time. If your preference is to use fewer pans vs. saving time, start the sweet potatoes in the stock pot, add the bacon after the potatoes have softened a bit (about 7-8 minutes), and continue with the recipe as written. Note that the bacon might take a few minutes longer to crisp.

Prep Time: 10 minutes       Cook time: 30 minutes       Yield: 4-6 servings

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