Sweet Potato, Chestnut, and Bacon Soup; Photo - Danielle SucherThis is meant as a direct response to the question - what do you do when you come across a monstrously large sweet potato that stares you in the face and demands to be bested?

You puree the sucker into soup, that's what.

Sweet Potato, Chestnut, and Bacon Soup
1 large head of garlic
3 lbs. sweet potato, peeled and chopped
6 C chicken stock
8 strips bacon
30 fresh sage leaves
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne*
250 g cooked chestnut, chopped

Roast the head of garlic in the ordinary fashion. That is, by cutting off the top, pouring in olive oil, wrapping it in aluminum foil, and sticking it in a 375F oven for about 56 minutes, or until lovely, fragrant, and soft.

Boil the sweet potato in the stock for 15-20 minutes, with salt to taste.

In the meantime, slowly cook the bacon - you want to render out as much fat as you can without burning it. Then pour off the fat (we save ours in a can in the freezer, because it always comes in handy eventually). Chop the bacon into bits.

Add the sage, garlic, and cayenne to the soup. Puree until fairly smooth. Then, stir in the chestnut and bacon.

Serve hot, garnished with sour cream or creme fraiche and a sprinkle of sage.

* We use super-hot cayenne, so if you're using ordinary supermarket cayenne, you may want to double this or more.

Shopping Guide

We buy that super-hot cayenne at Kalustyan's, our favorite spice purveyor in the city.

Cooked, vacuum-packed chestnuts can be found at D'Vine, on 7th Avenue in Park Slope, as well as at other gourmet stores. If you're feeling patient, we suppose you could always just roast your own.