Roasted Tomato And Sweet Potato Soup
I was sitting waiting for someone in the community library here in St James one day a couple years ago. When I realised I was sitting in the cookbook/food section, I started to browse while I waited. I came across a beautiful book called Cooking Kariwak Style: Taste of Tobago by Cynthia Hurd-Clovis. Such a beautifully photographed book with equally beautiful recipes. Of course I didn’t have a card to sign it out at the time and for some reason never did after even when I did get a library card.
Anyways, while I waited I came across some wonderful recipes but only two stuck or at least the basic concepts of them, and to this day I make both of them all the time. The one is a beautiful coconut rice that is a staple which I switch up by adding veggies, peas or whatever I have to it, but the bones of the recipe always stays the same. More on that another time though. The other recipe that stood out to me was a tomato basil sweet potato soup. When I read it, right away I could taste it!! So I tried to remember the basics of it and recreated it as soon as I could.
I have never tasted the original at Kariwak Village Hotel, although I have eaten there before. It was around 5 years ago on a mini vacation from Canada. I don’t remember what I had, but I do remember that it was delicious! That’s why when I saw that book, I had to take a look at it.
When it came down to making the recipe I couldn’t remember any measurements but I knew the staple ingredients. So I just improvised and made my own rendition of it. So good!! Light but rich in flavour due to the basil, and the sweet potatoes give it a nice sweetness and depth and they take away any acidity of the tomatoes. I wanted my tomatoes to taste nice and sweet and a bit smoky so I roasted my tomatoes with garlic, rosemary and oregano. I could have eaten all the tomatoes off the baking sheet right as they came out of the oven — they smelled so good!! Hope you enjoy this warm bowl of goodness and please do let me know your thoughts on it!
All this has me feeling very nostalgic for Tobago. I must go back to Kariwak for a little nourishment the next time we are there. Hopefully they are still serving up this recipe because I would love to try the original!!
Roasted Tomatoes Sweet Potato Basil Soup
- 6-8 small to medium sized tomatoes sliced in quarters
- 4 cloves garlic (skin on or off whatever you prefer, if leaving on remember to remove or squeeze garlic out of them when adding them into the soup)
- a pinch each of fresh rosemary and dried oregano (don’t want these to overpower the basil, the star of the soup)
- 2-4 cups of broth of choice or water (remember to season more aggressively if using water)
- 4 medium sized sweet potatoes peeled and chopped
- 1 large or 2 small onions chopped
- ¼ - ½ cup of fresh basil sliced and more for garnish if you would like
- ½ cup of fresh chopped spinach or two to three cubes of frozen chopped spinach (because you know if I can add spinach to anything I will) — optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400°F and while that is preheating slice tomatoes and put on baking sheet with garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs. Roast for about 20-30 min depending on the size of the slices. You want the skin to start to look wrinkly but you don’t want them completely dehydrated.
- When the tomatoes are almost done, sweat the onions in your pot with a couple tbsps. of EVOO and salt and pepper for a few minutes until soft and translucent
- Add the sweet potatoes to the pot and stir to coat
- Add the roasted tomatoes and garlic to the pot and give everything a good stir
- Add broth and let simmer half covered with the lid for approx. 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft and almost falling apart (add more water or broth as needed — do not let it completely dry out, also test occasionally for seasoning — add more salt if needed)
- Add in your sliced spinach (if using) and simmer for a few more minutes until it’s wilted
- Take the pot off the heat and using an immersion blender (could also do batches in a blender and then return to pot) blend soup to the consistency you desire (I like it smooth but with a few veggie stragglers left for a little more texture)
- Add and stir in your sliced basil
- Serve with crusty bread.
- You don’t have to roast the tomatoes if you don’t have the time. But the roasted tomatoes and garlic are really what put this soup over the top.
- In a bind and don’t have fresh basil? If you have a jar of Pesto you can add in a tsp or two to the soup at the end and it will give it a similar flavour but really and truly nothing beats fresh basil.