Japanese Sweet Potato & Rutabaga Soup


We all had a rough night of slumber the other night. It started out promising. My son fell asleep at 7pm, I passed out around 9pm and my husband stayed up working until around 2am. He and I bumped bellies (for the record I am the only one with a belly!) in the kitchen right before he went upstairs to go to sleep.

Why, do you wonder, am I in the kitchen in the middle of the night?! Well, I am 33 weeks along and as of late I have been waking up in the middle of the night starving, unable to fall back asleep until I get a little nibble. My hunger isn't specific to anything in particular, a few spoonfuls of plain yogurt or a small glass of tangy goat kefir seems to do the trick.

However, the other night I was suffering from some uncomfortable tummy indigestion, accompanied by a slight tinge of nausea. Something I haven’t experienced since my first trimester. Could of been the bison burgers we had for dinner that were slow to digest. I have heard that women get indigestion and heartburn around this stage. Thankfully I never really experienced any of that with my son. I think it was because he was in the breech position (head up, butt down) but who knows. This little girl inside I believe (and desire) is in the head down position or at least making her way down as the sensations I am feeling are quite different then I did with him. But, we will all just have to wait to see what position she decides to end up in - in the final stretch. Head down gurrrrl. HEAD DOWN!


At any rate, lately my son has also been ironically waking up in the middle of the night as well - starving. When I hear him, I quietly sneak upstairs to go back to sleep while Papa feeds him a snack and lays down in bed with him until he falls back to slumber. Sometimes that works. Most of the time I would say. But not the other night. Papa successfully passed out, but crazy pants was bright eyed and bushy tailed so then I took over until he FINALLY fell asleep at 4:30am!

Now, I am the type of person who can not, I mean can not sleep in. Never have been. I inherited this trait from my father who, for as long as I can remember, gets up with the sun. So no matter what time I go to sleep, my eyes pop open just when the faint shade of blue is painting the sky. But, since I am pregnant I forced myself back to sleep for another hour. It helped, a little.

When I arose the next morning everyone - including the dogs - were still asleep. I always take advantage of these (far and few between) quiet mornings in the kitchen. Usually I would bake but this morning I was still left with a slight linger of queasiness and I wanted something soothing and easy to digest.  I looked down at my counter to a large gorgeous lone Japanese sweet potato and a massive sized rutabaga. Immediately I thought of a soup. I never tried this combination before but was confident it could be a delicious one as they are both two of my favorite root vegetables. And after making it, I am delighted to report, that this soup is a major keeper. It's wonderfully earthy yet subtle, sweet and creamy without the need to add cream. Not to mention unbelievably simple to make, delicate, nourishing, and very tummy taming too.


Japanese Sweet Potato & Rutabaga Soup

As with most soup, the flavor and depth will reflect from the quality of the stock you use. Homemade is, in my opinion, always best but if you don't have any on hand a good store bought one is fine. Just make sure it's a low sodium chicken broth so you can have some sort of control of the saltiness. And, if you should wish to make this vegetarian - be sure to use a non tomato base stock here.

  • 2 TB butter, divided
  • 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 large japanese sweet potato, peeled and rough chopped
  • 1 large rutabaga, peeled and rough chopped
  • 4 to 5 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or filtered water 

In a medium pot, over medium flame, melt 1 TB butter and olive oil. Add the onion and a nice pinch of sea salt. Stir occasionally for about 5 minutes or until onions are softening and beginning to golden. Mix in the garlic and dried thyme. Stir around for a few minutes until fragrant.  Then add the chopped sweet potato, rutabaga, stock and about 1/2 tsp sea salt.

Turn up the flame a bit and bring to a light boil. Then partially cover pot and turn the flame to a simmer and cook for about 25 minutes or until vegetable are soft. Take off the heat and allow to cool a bit. Carefully add, in stages, the chunky soup to the blender and blend until smooth. Then, when all the soup is pureed, pour into a pot and stir in the remaining 1 TB butter. Allow to melt. Taste. Add a few pinches more salt if needed and a dash of cayenne pepper if desired.

Serve with greens and some warm crusty bread.