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Kumara Soup with Maple Bacon & Sage Grissini

Winter warming meals are made of this, seasonal produce, cooked simply and packed full of lip-smacking flavour.

Kumara Soup with Maple Bacon & Sage Grissini

Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1.25kg kumara, peeled, chopped
1 tbsp chopped sage
1.25 litres chicken or vegetable stock
200g rindless streaky bacon
2 tbsp maple syrup

Sage Grissini
1 tsp dried yeast
1 tsp sugar
1⅔ cups bread flour
1 tbsp finely chopped sage
2 tsp salt flakes
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra
24 sage leaves, halved lengthways if large

To make sage grissini, combine yeast, sugar and 180ml lukewarm water in a small bowl. Cover and set aside 10 minutes or until frothy.

Combine flour, chopped sage and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and oil, stir to combine. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

Place dough in an oiled bowl. Cover, set aside 1 hour or until doubled in size.

To make the soup, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring, 10 minutes or until soft. Add garlic; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add kumara, sage and stock. Bring to boil; simmer 20 minutes or until kumara is soft. Use a stick blender to puree until smooth. Season.

Preheat oven 200°C. Place bacon on a baking paper-lined oven tray. Bake 15 minutes, turning once until lightly browned. Brush both sides 
with maple syrup. Cook 5-10 minutes or until well browned and caramelised.

Line two large baking trays with baking paper. Knock back grissini dough. Divide into 12 pieces. Roll out one piece dough into a 24cm-long tube. Place on oven tray.

Wrap two sage leaves around middle of dough or if leaves are small, press into top of dough. Press to secure. Repeat with remaining dough and sage leaves.

Drizzle with extra oil, sprinkle with remaining salt flakes. Bake 10 minutes or until browned and cooked through.

Reheat soup if necessary and serve with shards of maple bacon and sage grissini.

TIP: The grissini dough could also be used for small bread rolls or flatbreads. Double the recipe – grissini wrapped in prosciutto are great additions to antipasto platters.

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