Winter is upon us. Time to start cooking dishes that warm your body and soul. My wife has already started to ask me when am I going to start making soups. Not Gumbo, which I make all times of the year but soups that I usually make during the colder months.

Two soups that are welcomed the colder it gets are Onion Soup and Sweet Potato Soup. Onion Soup is a classic French dish and Sweet Potato soup is a South Louisiana staple. They also showcase two different types of soups, a broth based soup and a cream based soup. The broth base will be a lighter and the cream base will be richer. I would suggest pairing your soup with a dish that has the opposite texture. Onion soup goes well with pastas and heavier dishes whereas the Sweet Potato soup would pair well with chicken or fish dishes. That way, you will keep you dinner balanced.

One of my favorite soups is Onion Soup. The tasty broth, the silky onions and the melted cheese makes for one of the best spoonfuls you can put win your mouth. It’s great for a cold winter’s night.

There are many ways to make onion soup. Most onion soups have a large crust of melted cheese on top. This is achieved by putting a piece of toasted bread in the soup os the cheese does not sink to the bottom. This recipe uses a little Parmesan cheese to keep this a lower fat soup. But if you like cheese, substitute grated Swiss cheese and melt the cheese under a broiler before serving.

Creole Onion Soup

1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter
1 large Onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
2 quarts Beef Stock
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon White Pepper
Salt to Taste
1/4 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

Over medium heat, melt the butter in a large pot and sauté the onion until tender, about 5 minutes. Blend in the flour and cook the mixture another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the beef stock, Worcestershire sauce and pepper. Adjust the seasoning with salt to taste. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about fifteen minutes. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with
Parmesan cheese.

This is a wonderful soup using a staple Louisiana crop, sweet potatoes. This soup is easily made vegetarian by subbing vegetable oil for the bacon drippings, vegetable stock for the chicken stock and omitting the bacon and using a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in place of the bacon drippings. With or without meat, this soup is a welcome addition to any meal.

Sweet Potato Soup

3 large Sweet Potatoes
3 teaspoons Salt
1 tablespoon Sugar
1/3 cup Onion, chopped
2 Bacon Slices
3 cups Chicken Stock
1 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon White Pepper
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
Chopped Parsley, for garnish
Freshly Grated Nutmeg, for garnish
1/2 cup Sherry, optional

Preheat oven to 350℉.

Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork and place them in the oven on a foil-lined sheet pan for about 1 hour or until they are soft and a fork completely pierces one easily. Set then aside to cool.

When the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Place the cubes in a 2-quart bowl and mash them with butter and sugar.

Fry the bacon slices in a deep skillet ad set them aside on a paper towel to drain. Sauté the onion in the rendered fat drippings. Add the chicken stock, cream, salt, white pepper and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Ladle into bowls, top with parsley, nutmeg and sherry.

Let these soups warm your body and soul. The weather will only get colder, so keep warm.