Annie Bell’s spicy sweet potato soup with lardons

Piment d’espelette is the poshest chilli on the planet, akin to cayenne but with a long sultry finish to it. Protected in origin, it can be sourced on Amazon and the excellent French online supermarket

sweet potato soup
Lizzie Mayson


2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
A pinch of piment d’espelette (or dried chilli flakes)
800g orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
500g tomatoes, coarsely chopped
900ml vegetable stock

170g smoked or unsmoked lardons
30g pumpkin seeds
A pinch of piment d’espelette (or cayenne pepper)

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion and fry for a few minutes until relaxed and glossy, stirring occasionally, then add the garlic, cumin and piment d’espelette (or chilli flakes) and fry for a minute longer. Add the sweet potato and continue to cook for another couple of minutes, stirring frequently, then stir in the tomatoes.
  2. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes, by which time the potato should be meltingly tender. Purée the soup in batches in a blender, seasoning it to taste with salt.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick frying pan over a medium heat and fry the lardons for 7-8 minutes until golden, stirring frequently and adding the pumpkin seeds a minute before the end. Season with piment d’espelette (or cayenne) and drain on a double layer of kitchen paper.
  4. Serve the soup with the lardons and pumpkin seeds scattered over.

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Creative director: Chloe Sharp. Food styling: Tamara Vos. Styling: Kitty Coles