Sweet potatoes, of all things, have special meaning for me. I was a latch key kid, growing up with my single mom who worked long hours. Stopping at the variety store after school with my friends was a pretty regular tradition. While my friends were buying Lemonheads, Good Humor ice cream treats and chocolate bars, I was often looking for a way to stretch my dollar. When I ventured to the back of the store, I found a basket of sweet potatoes. I can’t remember if they were 19 cents, 29 cents, or 39 cents a pound. I just remember the “9” at the end, and that they were incredibly cheap for the amount you got! I could bring these home and pop them in the microwave for a hearty snack/meal that would keep me going much longer than any candy bar would. So, it became a tradition of mine to eat sweet potatoes after school, much to the perplexity of some of my friends. I still enjoy them to this day, for much different reasons than I did back then.
The sweet potato is a hearty and nutrient packed vegetable. It was one of the first foods to cross my babies’ lips, and remains a favorite of theirs. The recipe I use for this chowder is one I’ve been making for the better part of a decade. My family enjoys it as a holiday starter or a simple dinner side dish. It always gets rave reviews.
- 1 cup of chopped onion
- 2 tbsp oil (I usually use coconut but really any I’ve tried works)
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tsp red curry paste (I used Korma paste last time and it was great), or you can sub 2-3 tsp curry powder
- Roughly 7 cups of sweet potatoes peeled and cut in to small cubes (about 3/4 inches)
- 3 1/2 cups of chicken broth or veggie broth, preferably homemade
- 1 can of coconut milk
- 2 tsp grated ginger
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Heat the oil then cook the onion for a few minutes before adding garlic and curry paste.
- Cook about 5-ish more minutes, stirring, until the onion is translucent.
- Add remaining ingredients, bring to a gentle boil, then simmer covered for about 15 minutes.
- When the sweet potatoes become tender, take it off the heat.
- You now have a choice to blend anywhere between half of it, to all of it. If you blend it all, it’s more of a bisque, if you blend half and then return it to the pot, you’ll have more of the chowder consistency. Both are great.
When the bacon ends were crispy and the onion was tender, I tossed in some washed cubed potatoes (about 3 cups), 3 cups of chicken broth, and a can of evaporated milk (my Nana’s suggestion, based on her Corn Chowder recipe).
All bubbled at a slow simmer with frequent stirring until the potatoes were tender. After a taste I decided to add in a bit of frozen Springdell corn to give it a bit of sweetness. Once the corn was heated through, Chowdah was in progress! It’s not the most attractive dish, but it was pretty good!
Don’t forget to order your pepper plants and eggplant plants for your home or community gardens, orders are being accepted now via Springdell Farm!
Thank you Jess for sharing this lovely Recipe. Might I suggest, if you are like my Family that observes Lenten No Meat Fridays, that you use Vegetable Stock with the lovely Sweet Potatoes/Potatoes. Also I would suggest that you make a Roux: with 1-2 Tablespoons of All Purpose Flour and Amish Butter (on a Medium to Low Sauce Pot Heat) and then stir in a 1/2 cup of Heavy or Light Cream ( and you may have to dilute this with a 1/2 of water, depending upon our rich you Heavy Cream is).
Then add this Roux to your cooked Sweet Potato/Potato Soup (at the end) and use an Immersion Blender. I must admit that we are not an Evaporated Milk nor a Coconut Milk Family and we use Fresh Local Heavy Cream instead.
Thanks for the suggestions, Kathleen, I always love them! I was definitely thinking Lent when posting the Sweet Potato Chowder. I put veggie broth/chicken broth on the ingredients list, and I honestly can’t tell the difference when using (homemade) veggie broth in lieu of the chicken broth, it is just as hearty. Also a roux is also a great idea! I left the flour out when making the chowder for our gluten-free guests, but could have substituted perhaps a potato starch or maybe buckwheat flour?
I also wasn’t too crazy about the evaporated milk, it was my first time trying it. Nan uses cream in her fish and clam chowder, but not her corn (and I like her fish and clam chowders way better, now I know why). I’ll be back to the cream the next time for sure. I just can’t part with my coconut milk when curry or other Asian style spices are involved, I know there are probably no coconuts growing within 100 mile radius of us, but it is totally a guilty pleasure of mine… Although, heavy cream is too! I have a great butternut squash bisque that is all about the heavy cream, I’ll post it when the season rolls back around and I would highly recommend it! 🙂
Jess, this sounds great! Thanks for the added comments/explanations to you and Kathleen. I was going to ask about using cream instead of evaporated milk, as I’m not a fan, but you all beat me to it. I’m hoping to make this soup this weekend.
Thanks, Beth! This recipe definitely wasn’t tested before bringing it to the “table” (the sweet potato one was, but the bacon potato one was not). If I had it to do over again, I’d definitely go with the A-La-Kathleen twist of cream and flour roux with the bacon potato chowder.
Also, I should mention that while crisping up the bacon ends is fine, be careful not to burn them as this also effects the flavor (as I found out when taking a break to play a quick Lego game with my 5 year old while sautéeing.) Oh, the joys of cooking and blogging in real-time! 🙂
If you make it, we’d love to hear how it turns out! 🙂
Tonight I made, after all my Suggestions, this lovely Sweet Potato Soup/Chowder. I decided, since it wasn’t a Lenten Friday, to use the Chicken Stock and throw in some Chopped Cooked Bacon, and 1/2 a head of Chopped Cabbage. I did use my Immersion Blender, what a handy tool that is. Then I made the Roux, with the Amish Butter and the Flour and 1/2 a Cup of Heavy Cream diluted with 1/2 a Cup of Tap Water. This turned out so Yummy and my Husband, who lately is thinking that the Sweet Potatoes have taken over our House, ate two bowls full. I did use two Teaspoons of Fresh Curry (courtesy of Soluna Farms in Winchester, MA), which might have been too much, but it all blended well and the Soup had a nice consistency and spice to it. The Leftovers are going to be so good.
Thank you for sharing, Kathleen! Totally in the spirit of “make it your own”, I am loving this! Awesome use of the cabbage too! If it’s not kraut bound, maybe the other half of cabbage could even go with your fingerling potatoes and kielbasa? (I gotta admit, Sunday it felt weird cooking fresh kielbasa and not cooking the cabbage with it). 🙂