Roasted Apple & Sweet Potato Soup

A harmonious blend of sweet Spartan apples, creamy sweet potatoes, savoury spices and hot chillies, this velvety soup provides much needed balance. A perfect lunch option, this wholesome soup is sure to help maintain stamina levels for the remainder of the work day.

10 cups (2.5 L) peeled and cubed sweet potatoes (approx. 5 to 6)
3 cups (750 mL) peeled, cored and quartered Ontario Spartan apples (approx. 5 to 6)
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
1 long red chilli pepper, left whole, ends removed
5 tbsp (75 mL) vegetable or canola oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) salt
2 tsp (10 mL) freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter
2 cups (500 mL) peeled and chopped onions
3 fresh thyme sprigs
3 cups (750 mL) milk
4-1/2 cups (1.125 L) cold water
2 tsp (10 mL) cider vinegar

Spiced walnuts:
1 tbsp (15 mL) unsalted butter
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp (1 mL) cayenne pepper
1 cup (250 mL) walnut halves
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper

For the Soup: Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

In a large bowl, add sweet potatoes, apples, cinnamon, chilli pepper and oil. Season with salt and pepper and stir until well combined. Line baking sheet with parchment or foil. Spread potato and apple mixture evenly on baking sheet and place in preheated oven. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally, until apples and sweet potatoes are golden and tender.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, add butter and melt completely. Add chopped onions and thyme and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes or until onions are tender and lightly golden. Add roasted potato and apple mixture milk and water. Decrease heat to medium and let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

Once simmered, remove the chilli and thyme sprigs and discard. Purée soup with a blender or hand blender until very smooth. Just before serving stir in cider vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

For the spiced walnuts: While the soup is simmering, heat a small frying pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp (15 mL) of butter and let melt completely. Add thyme sprigs, cinnamon, cayenne, walnuts, salt and pepper. Continue to sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently until walnuts are golden and fragrant.

Serve soup piping hot with a garnish of warm spiced walnuts.

Makes 12 servings.

Variety tip: For best results, use Spartan, Empire or Russet apples. 2 lbs/1 kg is about 5 large apples.

Per serving: about 290 cal, 6g pro, 16g total fat (4g sat fat), 34g carb, 5g fibre, 10mg chol, 780mg sodium. %RDI: iron 6%, calcium 15%, vit A 320%, vit C 15%