2lbs sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and diced into small cubes
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp butter, unsalted
4.5 cups low sodium chicken broth (use vegetable broth to make this vegetarian)
2 cinnamon sticks
3 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/4 tsp paprika (optional)
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped pecans and Crème Fraiche to garnish
In a large pot, over medium high heat, heat the olive oil and the butter until the butter melts. Add the onion and the garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes, until the onion is translucent.
Add the leeks and the celery and mix everything together. Let the vegetables cook for about 5 minutes, stirring every now and then, until they soften and develop some color.
Add the cubed potatoes and let them cook for a couple of minutes with the vegetables.
Add the chicken broth, the cinnamon sticks, the paprika (if using), the nutmeg and the salt and pepper. Lower the heat to low and let it simmer for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked and fork tender,
Using a hand blender, purée the soup until smooth. (You can also purée it in a regular blender, working in batches!)
Add the half and half and the maple syrup and stir until incorporated. Taste and fix seasoning, if necessary. You can serve it now, but I like to let it simmer for 5 more minutes for all the flavors to combine.
Garnish your soup with some chopped pecans (or cashews) and a dollop of Crème Fraiche. You can also garnish with celery leaves.