Cooking Under Pressure: Pressure Caramelized Sweet Potato Soup - Modernist Cuisine

Cooking Under Pressure: Pressure Caramelized Sweet Potato Soup

MCDecember 12, 2013

Just in time for winter, we decided to develop a new seasonal variation of one of our Modernist Cuisine traditions: Pressure Caramelized Sweet Potato Soup. The recipe for this magical soup incorporates black peppercorns to give it a nice zip, and hints of sweet onion and Makrud leaves complement the caramelized sweet potato stock.


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The charm of this soup is twofold: the elevated temperature of pressure-cooking coupled with an alkaline environment ensure that caramelization reactions will flourish.

Vegetables are made up of cells with strong walls that soften at higher temperatures than the cells in meat do. Vegetables are composed mostly of water, however, and their temperature normally won’t exceed the boiling point of water (100˚C/212˚F) until they are dried out. Vegetables in a fully pressurized cooker don’t dry out as they quickly become tender under higher temperatures (120˚C/250˚F). And because the air is sealed in, you don’t need to add much water, so juices are extracted without becoming diluted.

Add to this a pinch of baking soda to bring the soup to a more alkaline pH of about 7.5 and you have ideal conditions for Maillard reactions to commence. The result is a gorgeously colored soup that is the concentrated essence of caramelized sweet potato.


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We like to finish our soup with purple sweet potato confit, roasted chestnuts, and toasted marshmallows. The purple sweet potatoes add a brilliant dash of color, and toasted marshmallows add a touch of tradition and whimsy. This soup is the perfect way to begin special dinners this holiday season.

Pressure-Caramelized Sweet Potato Soup

7 Responses to “Cooking Under Pressure: Pressure Caramelized Sweet Potato Soup”

  1. Your timing could not be more perfect. I’ve been using a variation of your caramelised carrot soup recipe to make Kumara (sweet potato) and Coconut soup, but the combination of coconut cream and lots of butter was making it far too rich. I’ll have to try this recipe, and some variations on it. Thanks!

  2. I tried making this last night and it was delicious. Quite an easy recipe and the soup comes out with great texture and flavour.

    I wasn’t very fond of some of the garnishes though. I think the chestnuts are a bit too close in flavour to the soup, and don’t provide enough of a contrast in texture. I ended up using a bit of sliced endive to add some texture, as well as some crispy lardons and it worked very well. Gorgonzola could also work well as a garnish.

    Thank you muchly.

  3. I am getting nowhere near the yield on the stock, I’m using a scale to measure ingredients and I’m using a mandoline to slice the potatoes thinly, I’m thinking does MC cut them with a water saw or something to get them paper thin so they melt 🙂 I get at max 475g

  4. Inspired by this and carrot soup, we made caramelized Jerusalem artichoke soup. 60g of butter, 2g of baking soda and 500g of artichokes (peeled and diced), pressure cooked at 1bar for 20 minutes was rather good.