As a food blogger I get inspiration and ideas for recipes from all sorts of places, but eating out at restaurants is a huge one. If I order something I really enjoy I immediately begin to think of how I can re-create it at home. It’s a blessing and a curse, because I have to resist the work-mode-trance when it’s a Saturday and we’re supposed to be relaxing.
This is when my trusty phone comes in handy. I make a note of my ideas and then it’s out of my head, but the recipe idea is there on my phone waiting for me until I am ready to make it.
What does this all have to do with soup?
Everything. My inspiration for Roasted Sweet Potato Fig Soup with Crunchy Chickpeas came from a restaurant several months ago. When they listed their Soup of the Day as Sweet Potato Fig Soup, I got super excited and just had to try it! How exotic and unusual does the combo of sweet potatoes and figs sound? I mean I know I adore sweet potatoes and love soup, but figs, well figs were a whole new experience for me. Aside from fig newton cookies I don’t think I’ve ever tried a fig. Do fig newton cookies even count as eating a fig? Because of the exotic factor, I assumed I would fall head over heels in love with this soup.
Wrong. It wasn’t bad, but it was only “meh.”
It didn’t excite my taste buds as much as I was expecting it would. I could barely taste a fig flavor, and the soup was almost watery. I thought that if there were sweet potatoes in the soup that it would be super rich and creamy. Maybe I hyped it up too much.
Whatever the reason, I couldn’t get the idea of what I wanted the soup to be out of my head. When a recipe is haunting you in your sleep, that’s when you know you MUST make it.
In my humble opinion I love, LOVE my version of this soup!
I roasted the sweet potatoes instead of boiling them, for optimal flavor. While the sweet potatoes were roasting I made some crunchy chickpeas that are caramelized with honey. These little dudes were a perfect complement to the silkiness of the puréed soup.
The sweet potatoes and chickpeas were the easy part; I know how to work with those. The figs, however, scared me a little. I have never worked with figs; remember the only fig I’ve had has been in a cookie. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get my hands on some fresh figs. Does anyone know how to get ahold of some in the Midwest? I really want to try some; please let me know if you have any secrets! So, dried figs it was for my recipe.
I was hoping they might be kind of like dates, and become soft after soaking them in some warm liquid. Correct! So, I simply soaked them in the chicken broth, added the roasted sweet potato flesh, and some roasted onions, and puréed away.
The result was rich, creamy, and bursting with the flavors of sweet fig and roasted sweet potatoes. The crunchy chickpeas are the key. They add a nice crunch and saltiness that is really needed. Plus the fresh tarragon, with that subtle licorice flavor, is something out of this world.
Trust me! You are going to want to make Roasted Sweet Potato Fig Soup with Crunchy Chickpeas. It may sound all fancy pants and complicated, but it’s actually really simple to make.
Due to the richness and sweetness of this soup I find it is best served as an appetizer or a side soup. A little goes a long way with this one.
Oooh, Oooh, you guys! Roasted Sweet Potato Fig Soup with Crunchy Chickpeas would be fantastic with a little spoonful of tart Greek yogurt. It would help cut the sweetness a little. That JUST popped into my head! Food blogger problems! Will someone just please make this soup with a dollop of Greek yogurt? Do it for me, okay?
I hope you give this soup a try; if you do don’t forget to leave a comment and rate it. Your comments make my day! Happy soup making!
- 4 medium-sized sweet potatoes, scrubbed, washed, and dried
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil, divided
- Fine sea salt
- 1 yellow onion, cut into large wedges
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 4 cups vegetable broth, or chicken broth
- ¼ -1/2 cup dried figs, depending on how sweet you want your soup to be (I used black mission figs), any stems trimmed off
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional, but recommended: 1 tablespoon fresh chopped tarragon, for garnish
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut sweet potatoes in half, lengthwise. Brush the flesh with about 1 tablespoon of the grapeseed oil, and sprinkle with salt. Place them face side down on a large rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with foil. Line a second baking sheet with foil, or if there is room, use the same baking sheet and toss the onion wedges with the other tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Place the pan(s) in the oven and cook the onions for 15 minutes, stirring half way through. Once they are tender and slightly caramelized remove them from the pan, and set aside.
- Continue to cook the sweet potatoes for another 25 to 30 minutes, totaling 35 to 45 minutes, or until they are fork-tender.
- While the sweet potatoes and onions are roasting make your crunchy chickpeas. Spread the drained and rinsed chickpeas onto a clean kitchen towel. Gently pat them dry. They need to be bone dry, otherwise they won’t crisp up.
- Place the dried chickpeas on a medium-sized baking sheet that has been lined with a silpat mat or parchment paper. Toss them in the 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Bake in the oven, on the top rack, for 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent burning. Once they are mostly crisp remove the chickpeas and toss them with the honey and another sprinkling of salt. Place them back in the oven to caramelize for 5 to 10 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on them, as they can burn easily. Once they are browned, slightly caramelized from the honey and crispy, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool.
- While the sweet potatoes are roasting and the chickpeas are crisping, bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a medium-sized sauce pan. Turn off the heat and add the dried figs, allow them to soak in the warm liquid for at least 10 minutes, or until they are soft. NOTE: I used ½ cup of figs, which had a fairly strong figgy, sweet flavor, which I like. If you are don’t want your soup to be as sweet, or to have a really strong fig flavor, start by soaking ¼ cup figs. You can always add more once the soup is puréed.
- Once the sweet potatoes are roasted remove them from the oven and allow them to cool enough to handle. Using a spoon scoop out the flesh of the sweet potato, leaving the skin behind. Measure out 1 ½ cups of sweet potato flesh. If you have any leftover sweet potatoes you can reserve them for eating as is, or in another recipe. Add the sweet potato flesh to the broth and figs in the pot.
- To the broth, figs, and sweet potatoes add the roasted onion. Use an immersion blender to purée the soup mixture until really smooth. OR transfer the soup to a blender, only filling the blender half way at a time, and process until smooth. Return the mixture back to the pot, and bring to a simmer.
- Taste the soup and determine if you want to add more figs. To add them, simply allow them to soak in the warm soup for 10 minutes, until soft, then purée again. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Once the soup is warmed through serve it in small appetizer bowls. Just before serving top with a few crunchy chickpeas and some chopped tarragon (optional).
- Store the leftover crunchy chickpeas in a jar on the counter. They will stay crisp for a few days, but best when fresh. Store the soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.