Old World yams and New World sweet potatoes are indeed different vegetables. In the US today, the terms are often used interchangeably to describe popular varieties of red-skinned, orange-fleshed tubers with pointed ends. At Earthbound Farm we produce the Garnet and Jewel varieties, which are commonly called yams but are actually sweet potatoes. No matter what you call them, though, they're delicious!
An intriguing combination of spices lends depth and interest to this creamy soup. Maple syrup contributes a hint of sweetness to round out its flavor. Add the syrup sparingly, tasting and adjusting in stages, as some yams have more natural sweetness than others.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
Wash yams and pierce with a fork. Bake directly on oven rack for 40 to 50 minutes or until tender. Cool, then discard the skins and chop the flesh. You want about 4 cups of yams.
Heat oil in a large pan and when hot, add the leeks and coriander. Sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the roasted yams, stock, water, star anise, cinnamon, and ginger. Cover pan and cook for 20 minutes, or until the yams are very soft.
Discard the star anise and cinnamon stick. Add the coconut milk and purée the soup in a blender until smooth. If the soup is too thick, thin with water or stock. Add the maple syrup one tablespoon at a time, adjusting sweetness as desired.