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November 16, 2017

GINGER CINNAMON SWEET POTATO BISQUE WITH SMOKED PAPRIKA PECANS

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Ginger Cinnamon Sweet Potato Bisque With Smoked Paprika Pecans is a delicious blend of autumnal flavors and makes an ideal start to the holiday meals. But why limit it to special occasion, this soup is perfect on its own!

Ginger Cinnamon Sweet Potato Bisque with Smoked Paprika Pecans
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Guys, you are not going to be believe this, but I just heard the first Christmas song of the year on the radio!! WHAAAAT?! Already? Do they not know that it's only November16th

As I drove off to pick up my morning decaf Cup of Joe, to what does my stunned ears should hear, but Andy Williams singing "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year". There is a local radio station that plays Christmas music 24/7 around the holidays, but don't recall it EVER starting so early. Needless to say, I changed the station. It is just too soon. Too soon!


GINGER CINNAMON SWEET POTATO BISQUE WITH SMOKED PAPRIKA PECANS


Do you know what is not too soon for my husband? A Christmas tree. Yup! Ours will be going up this weekend, along with his Thomas Kindade-esque Christmas village display. This ritual happens the weekend before Thanksgiving like clockwork every year. My husband loves looking at it all, and since there is a lot of time invested into setting up, he wants to enjoy the visual for a long time. I can't blame the logic—it makes perfect sense. 


GINGER CINNAMON SWEET POTATO BISQUE WITH SMOKED PAPRIKA PECANS



Moving on to today's soup, this Ginger Cinnamon Sweet Potato Bisque With Smoked Paprika Pecans makes a perfect meal on its own or a great starter to the holiday dinner. It could be made ahead entirely and reheated on the day of, so adding it to the Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner is easy peasy. When making this bisque ahead of time, the soup will thicken upon refrigeration. If it is too thick once reheated, add a splash of chicken broth or and/or cream to thin it out (the bisque should have some body but loose enough to easily flow off the spoon). Adjust seasoning to taste, if needed.




The flavor of this bisque is perfect for the season. The sweet potato, ginger,  and cinnamon gives this soup an autumnal vibe. A slight hint of smokiness from the paprika pairs well with the warmth of the other spices. And when garnished with the toasted smoked paprika pecans, all the flavors tie in superbly.

GINGER CINNAMON SWEET POTATO BISQUE WITH SMOKED PAPRIKA PECANS

As a side note, I might to need ask Santa for a nice, powerful food processor this year. The one that I currently have is an inexpensive model that seems to be showing its age because it is not pureeing things as smoothly as it should, as you can see in these photos. I would have liked to see this bisque look a bit creamier. But let me assure you, while it might not look silky smooth, it certainly tastes great!! 


GINGER CINNAMON POTATO BISQUE WITH SMOKED PAPRIKA PECANS     

Ginger Cinnamon Potato Bisque With Smoked Paprika Pecans


INGREDIENTS:


1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup thinly diced carrots
1 1/2 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut to 1" chunks
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. ground ginger  
1/2 rounded tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
2 (14.5 oz.) cans low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1/2 cup heavy cream 

For the Toasted Pecans:
1 1/2 tsp. butter
1/3 cup chopped pecans
pinch of salt
pinch of smoked paprika



INSTRUCITONS:


Preheat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil, onion, and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Add garlic. Cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add wine, ginger, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and paprika. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover loosely and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 20 minutes for until carrots and potatoes are tender. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Allow soup to cool slightly. Working in batches, fill a food processor or blender halfway with soup. Puree, starting on low and gradually increasing to medium/medium high. Vent lid slightly to allow steam to escape. 

Return puréed soup to the saucepan. Stir in heavy cream and heat through on medium heat. Add more broth or cream to adjust to desired consistency, if needed.

To make the toasted pecans: melt butter in a small skillet on medium heat. Add pecans, salt and smoked paprika. Cook, stirring until pecans smell nutty and aromatic, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a parchment or wax paper lined plate to cool.

To serve soup, garnish with pecans.

Makes 4 full or 6 starter servings 



Recipe Notes:
  1. For vegetarian version, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
  2. Puree soup in food processor, blender or immersion blender. 
  3. Tips to prevent soup explosion the pureeing in a blender or food processor: allow it to cool slightly before pureeing; fill vessel only halfway; vent lid slightly; hold a kitchen towel over lid; start at low speed then gradually increase to high.
  4. If soup seems thick once reheated, add a splash of broth or cream to thin out. Adjust seasoning, if needed.





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November 09, 2017

PHILLY CHEESESTEAK HAND PIES

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Philly Cheesesteak Hand Pies are filled with seasoned ground beef, chopped onions, green peppers, and Provolone cheese. They are convenient and easy to reheat. Make a large batch ahead of time for quick and satisfying snacks, lunch, or even dinner during the week. 

Philly Cheesesteak Hand Pies
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Hi there friends! I hope you adjusted to the time change without too much trouble. Now that we pushed the clock back an hour, it is definitely nicer in the morning. No longer am I leaving the house in complete darkness when I go to work, which is a plus. On the flip side, it now gets dark at 5:00 pm! Whoever coined the phrase "you win some, you lose some" must have done it after they experienced daylight savings! Can we push the clock back and push the end of the work day back an hour too? I think that's a totally awesome and sensible idea ;)  

November 02, 2017

GRAPE-NUT PUDDING WITH CINNAMON WHISKEY MAPLE CREAM SAUCE

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Classic grape-nut pudding gets an update with Cinnamon Whiskey Maple Cream Sauce. Delicious served hot or cold, this pudding is a dessert with  maximum comfort level.

Grape-Nut Pudding With Cinnamon Whiskey Maple Cream Sauce
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Happy November or better yet, Happy post Halloween!! Did you have a ghoulishly scary night filled with goblins, ghosts, and zombies? Well, there weren't many of those around my house, but there were plenty of Spider-Men, SWAT teams, and inflatable costumes. Have you seen those body size blowup costumes? They come in all different characters and are the coolest things. Every time I saw one, all I could think of was the Pillsbury Doughboy. Just adorable! Imagine Doughboy and all his puffy friends wandering around in your neighborhood! It was a fun trick or treating night for all in my neck of the woods. 

October 25, 2017

CHEESY LINGUICA AND POTATO BAKE

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Robust Portuguese linguica, tender ready to use potatoes, and gooey shredded cheese make this hearty and comforting dish perfect for breakfast, brunch, or any time day. 

Cheesy Linguica and Potato Bake
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If you never knew canned sliced potatoes existed, I'm here to vouch that it does! Canned potatoes are convenient, easy to use, a time saver, and is ready when you are. I never would have thought to cook with them if it were not for this dish. And let me tell you—the ground linguica, the potato, and the cheese can be summed up with one word—AH-MAZING!!

In all honesty, I did not come up with this recipe. It is an adaptation of one that both my husband and son make on a weekly basis (they have no problem that I put my name on it was long as I continue to feed them, haa haa). While their version uses frozen chopped onions, with all ingredients combined together, and is strictly cooked stovetop; my version has fresh onion and garlic and takes it a step further by layering the cheese and the potato/linguica mixture in a baking dish. Then, it is finished off in the oven. Why the extra cooking step? Because a top gooey layer of cheese is EVERYTHING! Plus, once you put the cheesy linguica and potato mixture in a baking dish, it becomes a comfort food. It is hearty and delicious, with a punch of flavor. Looking for a superb easy to make offering to take to any gathering or pot luck? Well, here you go! They will be asking for the recipe!

October 18, 2017

PUMPKIN FLAN CAKE WITH MAPLE BROWN BUTTER GLAZE

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Pumpkin Flan Cake with Maple Brown Butter Glaze is composed of a tender pumpkin cake layer, a custardy flan layer, and a sweet-nutty-buttery glaze. A garnish of salted pecans provides a deliciously unexpected contrast to the sweetness of the cake.

Pumpkin Flan Cake with Maple Brown Butter Glaze
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The way my husband and our neighbor went at the glaze on this cake was like a scene from National Geographic. You'd think that they haven't eaten in a week and couldn't get nourishment into their bodies fast enough. 

I'll back up a bit for you. I was sharing some of this cake with my husband and our two next door neighbors. When I proceeded to remove and box up the uneaten portion, my husband and our female friend swooped in on the layer of glaze remaining on the cake stand with lightning speed. I mean fingers swirling, double dipping, the whole messy scene. They did not stop until the whole cake stand was clean. It was quite bizarre and pretty comical at the same time. Now, if you watch Friends, this would be something befitting of a never before seen clip. (Remember the episode when Rachel and Chandler ate the cheesecake off the floor?) Ewww! but you get why they couldn't resist!