Sweet Potato Soup and Apple Brie Panini

Posted on: Sunday, October 16, 2011


Woman's paper "Souper Dress"Campbell Soup Company about 1967
This Saturday, we sought creative inspiration while visiting the new contemporary art wing at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Featured was art showing various approaches to minimalism and abstract expressionism in the form of sculptures, fluorescent light pieces and paintings. Midway through our visit, we noticed a manikin dressed in a red and white patterned a-line dress. At closer inspection, we realized the patterns were replicated Campbell Soup cans, the images made popular by pop artist Andy Warhol who elevated this everyday image to high art. As explained in the descriptive caption for the Souper Dress, the dress series was part of a 1960s campaign created by Campbell Soup for promotional motives. To us, it motivated us to cook!

We instantly thought to push the limits of the classic soup and grilled cheese combination. We stopped by the South End’s SoWa Open Market for some fresh ingredients to create this delightful pairing.


Sweet Potato Soup with Rosemary and Orange
 

2 T butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 minced clove of garlic
4 large sweet potatoes (about 2 1/2 lbs) cut into 1-inch cubes
6 c chicken broth
1 T dried rosemary
1 t ground cinnamon
1/4 c orange juice
salt and pepper throughout

On medium heat, sautee the onion in the 2 T of butter for 2 minutes. Next, add the minced garlic, rosemary, and cinnamon and sautee for another 2 minutes. Stir in the sweet potato cubes and sautee for 3-5 minutes, until fragrant. Pour in the chicken broth and increase the heat to a boil. Cook until the sweet potatoes are soft and tender, approximately 20 minutes.

Puree the soup in multiple batches. When blending, fill the blender halfway with the sweet potato mixture (keeping an even ratio of sweet potato to liquid) to create a smooth puree. Pour the pureed liquid into a large bowl and continue with the remaining soup. Stir in the orange juice, season to taste and ladle it up. It easily fills 4-6 soup bowls.

Apple and Brie Paninis
 

3 T softened unsalted butter
1 T EVOO
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 t sugar
1 apple, cored and thinly sliced (we used freshly picked Empires and kept the skin on for added color)
8 oz. Brie cheese, cut into thin slices

4 T Dijon Mustard
4 T Herbed Boursin cheese
salt and pepper throughout
8 slices of artisan sour dough bread

On medium-low heat, sautee the onions in the EVOO and 1 T melted butter and stir often for 10 minutes. Add the sugar and stir for a few more minutes until the onions are soft and have a slight caramel color. Set aside. 


Turn up the same skillet (or a Panini press, if you have one) to medium-high heat.

To build the Panini, lay out 4 pieces of bread. Spread 1T Dijon mustard on each slice. Top each slice with 2 slices of Brie, 2 apple slices, and a spoonful of caramelized onions. Spread 1 T of Boursin on each top slice of bread, and place atop the open sandwich. Spread both sides of the sandwich with butter. Cook each side for 5 minutes, until the bread is browned and toasty, and the cheese is melted. We usually grab a heavy pan or plate to press the Panini. Cut the Paninis at a bias and serve right away with the soup.

Both the soup and sandwich have a complex dimension of flavor, texture and color. We look forward to returning to the MFA for more culinary inspiration!

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