This bisque has a very festive flair to me with the contrast of the bright orange soup to the green leaves of cilantro and the red pomegranate seeds. A bisque makes a perfect first course or appetizer for any holiday dinner.
I was afraid it would be a bit sweet for my taste, but the Thai red chili paste and pomegranates took care of that and gave it a nice zing. Taste it before serving and if it’s still not spicy enough, add a shot or two of Sriracha. This bisque can be made this ahead and gently heated prior to serving, or better yet, it can be frozen for up to eight weeks, making it one less thing that has to be prepared at the last minute.
For a cheery and colorful addition to your special holiday meals, give this sweet potato and red lentil bisque a try.
Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Bisque
Adapted from O, The Oprah Magazine – serves 6
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
½ cup dried apricots, quartered
¼ cup chopped shallots
¼ to ½ teaspoon Thai red chili paste – I used Thai red chili sauce
4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
¾ cup light coconut milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 tablespoons pomegranate juice or seeds, optional but recommended
Sriracha as needed
Place sweet potatoes, lentils, apricots, onion, chili paste, and broth in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to low heat, cover, and simmer until lentils are falling apart, about 25 minutes. Let soup sit, uncovered, 10 minutes.
Add coconut milk. Using a stick blender, puree soup until smooth, in batches if necessary. Stir in salt and pepper, and add more if desired. Taste and add more Thai red chili paste/sauce and/or Sriracha if desired (we did both). Divide pureed soup among bowls, top each with cilantro and pomegranate juice or seeds (if using) and serve.
Cook’s notes: Brown or green lentils can be substituted for the red but they won't fall apart as easily, so forgo the blending and serve the soup as a chunky stew instead. The bisque can be frozen for up to 8 weeks.