Saturday, April 21, 2012

RECIPE - Creamy Yam Soup (Sopa de Cará)

It's an almost universal rule in Brazil that the mid-day meal, called almoço, is the largest meal of the day. Small inroads are being made in this custom due to the influence of North American culture and lifestyle, but even among office workers and students who don't return home to eat at lunchtime, the habit of eating more at noon than in the evening is very strong.

At night, at home, when Brazilians eat the meal they call jantar (in English - supper), they eat much more frugally than at midday. Jantar might be leftovers from a homecooked lunch, it might be a sandwich, or often, it's a bowl of soup. If you look up the etymology of our English word supper, you'll find that it comes from the the French word souper, meaning "to eat soup." So it appears that in early times in England supper was often soup, just as it still is in Brazil.

This soup is a typical Brazilian "supper" soup. Most soups in Brazil's are thick and hearty, often made creamy by the addition of pureed vegetables, such as beans, potatoes, or in this recipe the Brazilian yam known as cará. It can successfully be made with any sort of sweet potato or yam. In fact, it also works well with mashed potatoes, although the flavor will vary significantly.
 RECIPE - Creamy Yam Soup (Sopa de Cará)
Serves 6

1 lb (500 gr) yam or sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, mashed
4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cubed
6 cups light beef stock (can substitute vegetable stock if desired)
3 Tbsp Italian parsley, finely chopped (optional - to garnish)
In a medium saucepan, heat the oil, then add the chunks of yam and stir-fry for five minutes. Add the onion and garlic and continue to cook for about three minutes more, or until the onions are soft and transparent but not browned. Add the stock, bring to a very slow boil, and cook until the yams are very soft and tender.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the yam chunks from the broth. Using a potato masher or ricer, puree the yam completely, then stir the puree back into the broth. Add the cubes of tomato and cook for an additional five minutes. Turn off the heat and let the soup stand on the stove for about 3 minutes, then serve in bowls or mugs, sprinkling chopped parsley on the surface if desired.

Recipe translated and adapted from Mdemulher Culinária.


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