Serves 6-8 (makes just over 3 litres)
4 large sweet potatoes (around 400g each), peeled and roughly chopped into 2cm chunks
2 onions, 1 roughly chopped and 1 finely sliced
2 bay leaves
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 litres chicken stock or vegetable stock
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2tbs vegetable oil
200g smoked back bacon rashers, or smoked streaky bacon, diced
100g flaked almonds
3tbs olive oil
250ml milk or coconut milk
Thyme leaves, to serve
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Put the sweet potato chunks, roughly chopped onion, bay leaves, celery and stock into a large saucepan. Season well with sea salt and freshly ground pepper then bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, cover and leave to simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the sweet potato is soft and falling apart.
Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the finely sliced onion along with the bacon and cook for about 15 minutes until golden, stirring frequently.
Put the flaked almonds in a roasting tin and bake for 8-10 minutes, until dark golden, shaking the tin halfway through.
Remove from the oven, tip the almonds into a blender with the olive oil, and blitz until they reach the consistency of chunky peanut butter. Season well.
Remove the bay leaves from the soup, then blend the soup in batches in a blender, or use a stick blender, until it is completely smooth. Whisk in the milk
then set aside.
Add most of the bacon and onion to the soup, reserving some to serve, and bring it to a gentle simmer. Mix well, then taste and add a little more sea salt, if needed, and a good dose of black pepper.
To serve, ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Finish with a good dollop of the almond butter and garnish with thyme leaves and the reserved bacon and onion mixture. Enjoy with warm crusty bread or melba toast.
Recipe taken from Marcus Wareing New Classics (reviewed opposite). Photography by Jonathan Gregson