We love sweet potatoes, and we think they deserve a place at the table even when it’s not Thanksgiving, so we created this deceptively simple soup. Flavored with ginger and star anise and topped with a dollop of seasoned sour cream, it’s certain to fill (and warm) you up.

Game plan: To prepare the ginger, use a teaspoon to scrape away the thin outer peel, and then grate the yellow interior on a fine grater, such as a Microplane zester.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 35 mins 
  • Active: 10 mins

Ingredients (9)

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick)
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (from about a 2-inch piece)
  • 4 star anise pods (or 2 teaspoons star anise pieces)
  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 quart (4 cups) low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half (optional)
  • 6 tablespoons sour cream or crème fraîche


  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. When it foams, add the onion, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the ginger and the star anise. Add the sweet potatoes and stir to combine.
  3. Add the broth and water and stir well, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the sweet potatoes are completely tender, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Allow the soup to cool slightly. Remove the star anise pods and discard. Process the soup in batches in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Return the soup to the pot and reheat over medium-low heat. Season with additional salt and pepper as necessary. Stir in the heavy cream, if using.
  5. Combine the sour cream and remaining 1/4 teaspoon ginger in a small bowl, stirring until well mixed.
  6. Serve the soup in warmed bowls, topped with a dollop of ginger cream.

Beverage pairing: Here’s a big soup with a mouth-filling, creamy texture and lots of exotic spice that cries out for German Riesling. Many Rieslings would be a bit light-bodied for this, so go for one of the biggest you can find, from the Rheingau. Specifically, hunt down the 2006 Dragonstone Riesling from Leitz, which is medium- to full-bodied and rife with citrus and spice and a good dose of acidity.