Sweet potato and sausage bisque

July 15, 2009

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Serves 6

Joseph Randall developed this recipe after a visit to Lafayette, La. He starts it with what he calls the “holy trinity’’ of Southern cooking - onion, green pepper, and celery sauteed in plenty of butter. Use any smoked, hot sausage you can find and vary the amount of hot sauce depending on the heat in your sausage. This version of Randall’s recipe dramatically reduces the butter; the original called for a half-pound. M.E. MALONE

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound smoked Louisiana hot sausage or other smoked sausage, diced
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock, heated until boiling
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, baked, cooled, and peeled
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
4 dashes hot sauce, or to taste
1. In a soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 4 minutes. Add the sausage and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the roux is straw colored.

2. Stir the hot stock into the roux gradually, mixing until smooth. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. In a food processor, puree half the sweet potatoes and add them to the soup. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes more.

4. Dice the remaining sweet potatoes and stir them into the soup with the thyme, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Simmer 10 minutes more. Total simmering time is 40 minutes. Ladle into bowls. Adapted from Chef Joe Randall