This time of year it’s pretty difficult to find truly local produce that’s in season in North Carolina. Collards certainly are an option, and there may be some goodies growing in greenhouses. There’s certainly not an abundance of local farm-fresh food though. (Check out the N.C. in-season guide here.)
This is why canning and other food storing practices used to be so important. These days, there’s less need to preserve food for the winter because you can find just about anything you want at the grocery store year round. Produce shipped from other states and other countries will likely have a lot less flavor, but at least you have options.
In addition to collards, sweet potatoes are another North Carolina food that you can actually enjoy in February without any loss in quality or flavor. The state’s sweet potatoes are generally harvested in late summer into fall. With proper storage, tasty sweet potatoes are available throughout the year – even in the grocery store if you didn’t store any yourself.
February is actually national sweet potato month. So that’s an even better reason to enjoy some. Here’s a recipe for a slow cooker sweet potato bisque. It could be the perfect thing to warm you up when the state gets a blast of wintry weather.
Makes: 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Difficulty Rating: Easy
1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, unpeeled and chopped (about 4 potatoes)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ cup milk
1. Add first five ingredients to a slow cooker. Pour in broth, stirring well, and cover. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 5 hours.
2. Stir in paprika, cayenne, brown sugar, cinnamon and milk. Blend together until silky and smooth using an immersion blender in the slow cooker or transferring hot soup to a blender. Serve warm, garnished with rosemary and croutons, if desired.
Recipe from: NCFieldFamily.org