CREAMY SWEET POTATO, APPLE AND BACON SOUP
1 tablespoon butter
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, thinly sliced (2 cups)
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1 to 2 medium Fuji or Gala apples, cored and thinly sliced (2 cups)
1 teaspoon salt
3 to 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch pieces (2 lb)
32 ounces chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
In 5-quart Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Cook bacon in butter 8 to 10 minutes or until just crisp. With slotted spoon, transfer to paper towel-lined plate; set aside.
In same Dutch oven, cook onion, apple and salt 7 to 9 minutes, stirring frequently, until very soft and beginning to brown. Add sweet potatoes and broth. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sweet potatoes are very tender.
Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes or until cool enough to transfer to blender. Fill blender one-third to half full. Remove or loosen center cap from lid of blender. Cover lid with folded dish cloth, and hold it down when blending. Puree until very smooth. Return mixture to Dutch oven. Continue to blend in small batches until all is pureed. Heat to simmering over medium heat. Add whipping cream; return to simmering. Remove from heat; stir in vinegar. Top soup with bacon and thyme leaves.
Tips: When pureeing any hot liquid, steam can build up. This may result in the top of the blender jar being dislodged and hot liquid splattering. To avoid this, make sure never to fill the blender more than halfway with the hot liquid. Remove or loosen the center cap of the lid to release the steam, and always drape a dish cloth over the top to catch any small splatters.
Top with shredded Parmesan cheese for an extra boost of flavor.
If reheating soup, consider adding just a touch more vinegar at the end, since acids tend to cook out after reheating.