Sweet Potato Corn Chowder

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Sweet Potato Corn Chowder

   Uncategorized   January 15, 2014  No Comments

chowderChris’ comments:  Today’s recipe comes from a friend of mine, Sat Kaur.  When I announced that we were going to do this blog, Sat Kaur was happy for us.  In fact, she was downright pleased that I was finally going to try some cooking and clean up my eating.  Being a vegetarian, she was doubly pleased to hear we were transitioning over into (mostly) vegetarian eating.  It isn’t easy making the switch, so she’s looking for simple recipes whose ingredients are easily sourced.  This recipe fits the bill.  Thanks, Sat Kaur!

I like the recipe because I love chowders.  This recipe is vegan, so it doesn’t include any cream but uses a corn puree as the thickener.  It’s also a gluten free recipe, which is important to me. 

Prep and cooking time is about 1 1/2 hours.  Makes 10 cups.

Ingredients:

•    2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
•    1 tablespoon oil
•    salt and pepper to taste
•    1 (12 ounce) package frozen corn kernels, thawed
•    1 cup water
•    1 tablespoon oil
•    1 1/2 cups finely diced celery
•    1 cup diced red onion
•    1/4 cup shallot, minced
•    1 tablespoon tomato paste
•    1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
•    3 cups vegetable broth
•    1 bay leaf
•    1 teaspoon salt
•    1 potato, peeled and cubed
•    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

(Sat Kaur added a pinch of cayenne and a couple of cloves of garlic.)

Directions:

1.    Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).  Place the sweet potatoes in a baking dish, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Stir to coat the sweet potatoes in oil.
2.    Roast in the preheated oven until the sweet potatoes are golden and tender, 15 to 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally as they cook so the sweet potatoes cook evenly.
3.    Meanwhile, measure out 1 cup of corn kernels and set aside.  Place the remaining corn into a blender, and puree with the water until smooth; set aside.  (Note:  I forgot to thaw out my corn before blending it and I recommend that you take the time to let the corn thaw.  If you don’t, you end up with a corn ice and the puree isn’t as smooth as it should be.)
4.    Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of corn oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the celery, onion, and shallot. Cook and stir until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and dried thyme leaves; cook 1 minute more. Pour in the vegetable broth, corn puree, bay leaf, salt, and cubed potato. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the potato is tender, 25 to 35 minutes.
5.    Once the potato is tender, remove and discard the bay leaf. Stir in the whole corn kernels, sweet potato, and chopped parsley. Return to a simmer and season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.

Chris’ Comments:  The red onion didn’t make it into my chowder.  Onions and I don’t get on all that well.  I love the taste of them, especially our Walla Walla Sweet Onions, but by the time I’d chopped the shallot my eyes were tearing so badly I couldn’t see, despite rinsing my knife and hands repeatedly under cold water.  I suspect I might have an onion allergy.

Since I only had dried bay leaf, I only used a half of one instead of the whole one so that the taste wouldn’t be too strong.

I had forgotten how marvelous celery and onion smells when it is being sauteed.  It was an OMG moment, one that definitely reminded me of why I’m doing this blog and making these changes in my lifestyle.  I only hope I coaxed enough flavor out of everything.

It would be fun to try this recipe in the summer when sweet corn is in season.  I love soups and chowders and eat them all year round, so I’m going to remember to do this in season, too.  I wonder how roasted corn would taste in it?  And fresh tomatoes instead of tomato paste?

Our final verdict after our taste test:  The tomato and thyme gave the dish a brightness, and the corn puree was a brilliant replacement for flour and heavy cream.  Delicious.  Definitely a keeper.  It could use more acid, so I’m doubling the tomato paste next time.  We also agree with Sat Kaur, add some cayenne pepper.  That little kick compliments the sweetness of the potatoes and corn.

With love from our kitchen,

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