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Sweet Potato Soup with Ham
8-10 first-course servings
¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 pound red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams; about 2), peeled, cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
1 8-ounce russet potato, peeled, cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 T plus 2 t chopped fresh thyme
½ cup bourbon
1 pound meaty smoked ham hocks
4 14 ½-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth
2 small bay leaves
Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add all potatoes, onion, celery,
and 1 T thyme: sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add bourbon
and boil 1 minute. Add ham hocks, broth, and bay leaves. Bring to boil. Reduce heat
to medium, cover, and simmer 30 minutes.
Uncover soup and simmer 20 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer ham hocks to work
surface to cool. Working in batches, puree soup. Return soup to pot. Cut meat off ham
hocks and slice enough ham to measure 1 ¾ cups. Add ham to soup. Bring to simmer.
Add remaining 2 t thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Do ahead: Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cool slightly; chill uncovered until cool,
then cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before serving.