This is a very simple, rich dish with a terrific crispy duck skin and nutty butter garnish on top. Duck cracklings are made from the leftover skin after dressing a duck. Ask your butcher if he will sell you just the skin, or buy a duck or duck breasts and save the meat for another use. Alternatievly, you can substitute crisped pancetta for the cracklings.
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Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet, and bake until tender, 40 to 50 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut the sweet potatoes into 3/4-inch pieces. Set aside.
In a large (4-quart) saucepan, heat the butter and oil over medium low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the reserved potatoes, chicken broth, and 1 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and then reduce the heat to medium-low or low and simmer for 15 minutes. Let cool briefly.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a clean sauce pan. Add the heavy cream and buttermilk, and season to taste with salt.
Make Ahead Tips
The soup can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated. Garnish with the sorghum butter and cracklings just before serving.
I was testing this out for my Thanksgiving menu. This is delicious! For some unknown reason I could not find the sorghum syrup, which is weird considering I live in NC! Any way I used grade B maple syrup which worked very well.If you can't find the duck skin, pancetta works very well.
WOW - my family went nuts over this soup. Definately a keeper. The balance of the sweet, slightly salty (bacon) and satisfying weight of the soup was delightful.Variation - used crumbed bacon as it's an easier step than the duck cracklings; didn't have any buttermilk so I used heavy cream exclusively; and I used an immersion blender as it's easier than blending in small batches.
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