Sweet Potato Soup with Fennel and Paprika

I recently saw a recipe for a pumpkin soup at Bon Appetit.     I was both intrigued by the presentation of the soup (in a pumpkin shell), the preparation of the soup (in the pumpkin shell), and the spices—particularly piment d’Espelette.   I had no idea what this was but I gathered it was probably some sort of paprika.    According to Bon Appetit, the description of this spice is “a  course chili powder made from the Espelette pepper.”   The Esplelette pepper is only grown in the French town of the same name.

Not having the time to travel to Espelette to pick up a jar or even mail order this spice, I substituted sweet smoked paprika.   And, of course, I swapped out the pumpkin for sweet ‘taters!

Sweet Potato Soup with Fennel and Paprika

1 T.  extra virgin olive oil
1 c. onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t. fennel seed
32 oz. chicken stock
1 c.  sweet potato puree
1 bay leaf
1/4 t. smoked sweet paprika
Gruyere, Emmental, Swiss or Provolone cheese slices

Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan.   Add onions and saute until they are colored a bit.   Add garlic and fennel seeds and saute for about 1 minute (or until fennel is fragrant).   Add a bit of chicken stock to deglaze pan.  Stir to remove all the brown bits from the onions.    Add rest of chicken stock, sweet potato puree, bay leaf and paprika.  Stir (or whisk) to incorporate.

Let simmer for at least thirty minutes.   Remove bay leaf.  (At this point you could puree the soup if desired.)

Place croutons into individual oven-proof soup bowls.  Ladle soup over croutons and top with a slice of cheese.   Place under broiler in oven until cheese is melted and browned a bit.


This is a great soup.  Hubby even liked it and he is tired of sweet ‘taters.   I hope it is even better as leftovers because we are having it again tonight!  It was a great dinner with a salad (with greens and radishes from the last farmers market) for Halloween night.

Note:  Would you believe that I still had puree leftover from that first roasted sweet potato?   Out of that one ‘tater, I made Sweet Potato QuicheSweet Potato Waffles, and then this soup.   That was a lot of sweet potato.

5 comments to Sweet Potato Soup with Fennel and Paprika

  • Wow, how much did that potato weight? That is cuh-razy! The soup sounds really good and I’ve been craving something creamy and hot like this. I like your sub of smoked paprika, sounds like it would pair well with the sweet potato!

  • You are making great use of that sweet potato. Whenever you want to fly to France, let me know….I’m up for spice shopping!

  • Ann

    Holy cow – this is fantastic! I LOVE the cheese on top! I really like the sweet potato swap! Nicely done!

  • Glad you made the swap, sweet potato soup just sounds more delicious than pumpkin. I am sure it tastes better too. That picture sure has me hooked-creamy cheesy goodness in a bowl-couldn’t ask for much more. Yum.

  • Eliot, we both had paprika on our minds! (clearly great minds – ha-ha!) Love the fennel and sweet potato in this soup – gorgeous, warming, fall splendour!