Funeral Sweet Potato Soup

Posted: 4 January 2009 in Food, joy, other folks

A few weeks ago, a friend’s mother passed away.  It seemed unreasonably early, though I can’t imagine ever thinking the time is right.  D drove north to the funeral and stayed for the wake.  More than ten years of friendship calls for support, commitment.  When she left, her friend pressed pomegranates and sweet potatoes into her hands.  Take them, she said, we won’t be here to eat them and they’ll waste.

Their plans hadn’t changed.  The fruit and vegetables might have wasted anyway.  Somehow though, the death left our friends desperate to push out anything that might be old, dying, gone.  We can get our own sweet potatoes and pomegranates, but took hers knowing that we might have offered up a little peace of mind in exchange for on-the-edge produce.

The pomegranate didn’t make the week, but the sweet potatoes have hung in there.  I admit that they been mocking me alongside the onions since they came home.   They were big, rooty, ugly things.  I don’t enjoy sweet potatoes, not even doused in marshmallows and I didn’t know what to do with these behemoths.  One went to the compost.  The other three went to Funeral Sweet Potato Soup.  It’s delicious.

Cook four medium (or three gargantuan) sweet potatoes uncovered and unpeeled for one hour in a salted, simmering bath.  Drain and set aside to cool.  Soften one cup of diced red onion in 2 tablespoons of butter until nearly translucent and nutty smelling.  Pull peels from potatoes and drop potatoes into a blender (or food processor if yours, unlike mine, doesn’t leak).  From one quart of vegetable or chicken broth, add one cup of broth and the onions to the potatoes and puree.  Put the whole thing into a pot.  Add two finely diced, de-seeded jalapenos and the remaining broth.  Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.  Garnish with chopped cilantro and sour cream flavored with the juice and zest of one lime.

Think fondly of gifts, whatever their purpose, and enjoy.

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